POWs in America

Discussion in 'WWII' started by MelissaAnne, May 3, 2006.

  1. What do you expect? The poor guy was thirsty!
     
  2. Vladimir Berkov

    Vladimir Berkov One Too Many

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    1,291
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    An interesting read is "Hitler's Last Soldier in America" which is the story of Georg Gaertner, who was a German POW who escaped from a camp in New Mexico and was uncaptured for 40 years until he turned himself in. During that time he worked as a ski instructor, tennis pro and coach, as well as working in construction and real estate often playing with a lot of celebrities on the tennis circuit who had no clue he was an escaped POW.
     
  3. KAT

    KAT A-List Customer

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    he walked the 400 miles and was back in Germany already...so it was okay he spoke Deutsch again;)
     
  4. MelissaAnne

    MelissaAnne One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    Nebraska
    Vladimir - I did use that book for my thesis. Wish I could have read more of it, but the library wanted it back! I did find it in a used bookstore. Unfortunately, I was out of cash that day. But I would like to have it on my reference shelf.
     
  5. priestyboy

    priestyboy One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Some in Oklahoma

    My mother-in-law talks about how the guards at the camp near her Sapulpa, OK home would bring the German POWs into town once a month (sometimes more) to go to the local cinema.

    Also, outside Gainsville, TX, just NNW of the outlet mall, you can see the fireplaces, chimneys and pillars of the German POW barracks dotting the landscape for a couple of miles.
     
  6. RAAF

    RAAF New in Town

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    Location:
    my house
    More in New Hampshire

    Camp Stark (Stark, NH) held about 300 German PoWs -- mostly those captured in North Africa.
     
  7. Phil_in_CS

    Phil_in_CS Familiar Face

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  8. Twitch

    Twitch My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    One of my 1st jobs was at a department store restraunt in St. Louis MO. The German chef was at a camp in Missouri and liked it so well he emigrated and spent the rest of his life there.
     
  9. Michaelson

    Michaelson One Too Many

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    I remember my Mom speaking of those camps, as she was born and raised in Apex, NC, and the trains for the camps stopped for water in Apex. They allowed the POW's off to stretch sometimes, and she said they were most disciplined and courteous individuals she had ever seen. From what I've heard and read elsewhere, most of the POW's that went to the NC camps were German Navy, and WERE the more disciplined groups that went through to the camps, though that always surprised me that they'd emcamp Navy personnel so close to the Atlantic. [huh]

    Regards! Michaelson
     
  10. Mojave Jack

    Mojave Jack One Too Many

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    We didn't have any POW camps nearby that I know of, but we did have one pretty unique camp. There is a spot not far from here where a group of Japanese-Americans hid out during WWII to avoid the internment camps. The built an entire compound out in the desert in a canyon that is so well-hidden that is is virtually undisturbed today. They built their huts under a few scattered tamerisk or cottonwood trees to hide from the military aircraft that criscrossed this area, and hid for the entire war. No one has owned up to it that I know of, but it is almost certain that they had help from sympathetic neighbors. Life must have been at least as hard in the hideout as it was in the camps, but I suppose the difference between being free and being interred was all the difference.
     
  11. MelissaAnne

    MelissaAnne One of the Regulars

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    Location:
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    Fascinating story, Mojave Jack. Wow. Is there any links with more information or possible published articles? I'd love to learn more.
     
  12. Mojave Jack

    Mojave Jack One Too Many

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    Location:
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    There's not a lot, I'm afraid. The local historical society maintains what little there is, and one of the residents was tracked down and interviewed by a local, but there is still only about 3(!) pages that are actually in the files. They are very protective of the site, to help preserve it, and I am just now finding my way into the circle of trust. A classmate in my PhD program is Japanese, and is actually doing her dissertation on the internment camps. The historical society folks are really great, and without them I think the site would have been long lost, so I am trying very hard to conform to their restrictions on the site. The real problem in this area is the OHV traffic. I'm not saying that all the people that ride OHVs are destructive, but there is a segment of that crowd that tends to find places like this and turn them into hangouts, and the historical society is trying their best to prevent the location from leaking out. I'd really like to see the site get put on the National Register, which is about the only way it can really be protected. I don't know of anything similar, short of the hideouts in Europe like Anne Frank's, so it meets Criterion A, right there. There is an entire dissertation in that one site alone, but when you add that into the story of the internment camps, it could really add some dimension.
     
  13. MrBern

    MrBern I'll Lock Up

    pow love story

    anyone recall the TV movie Summer of MyGerman Soldier starring Kristy McNichol?
    http://imdb.com/title/tt0078341/

    Jewish teen girl in american south harbors an escappe from a local POW camp.
     
  14. Story

    Story I'll Lock Up

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    http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2011/10/nazi_pow_camps_texas.php
     
  15. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

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    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  16. DNO

    DNO One Too Many

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    Location:
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    There's a former POW camp just outside Bowmanville, east of Toronto. I've been there a couple of times. The buildings are still there, though now derelict and threatened with development. It's 'Camp 30' and it held U-Boat ace Otto Kretschmer. It was also the site of the 'Battle of Bowmanville'. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bowmanville.
     
  17. Camp Roberts in central CA was home to Italian POWs. There is still a rock in front of the camp which is painted with some Italian outfit's coat of arms.
     
  18. Treetopflyer

    Treetopflyer Practically Family

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    Patuxent River, MD
  19. Renault

    Renault One Too Many

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    If okay I would like to share several stories with the forum concerning a couple of the camps here in Texas;

    First story;

    I live maybe six miles as the crow flies from Camp Swift Texas. (Eight miles as the horse flies ;) ).... There was a large POW camp there.

    One of my lodge brothers told me this story several years ago. He was visiting family in Germany. One evening they visited a small tavern for drinks. All the locals came out to see the "Texans". One excited older gent asked him;
    "Where are you from?"
    Answer "East of Austin."
    "Where??? "I know east of Austin!!!"
    My friend went on; "Elgin."
    German Gent; "I know Elgin I was POW at Camp Swift!!!!! (Next question floored him) "Is the Chicken Ranch still at La Grange???"

    Apparently the German POW had befriended two of his guards, both Sergeants. On Saturday evening they would come and get him, put him in a GI uniform and the three would drive to La Grange to the Chicken ranch! Yes the same as the "Best little Whorehouse in Texas", Chicken Ranch!!!!!!! He went on to say that the two guards would have him back in plenty of time for roll call Sunday morning!!!!! Said they did this a lot! War is Hell!

    #2 Shorter but just a interesting;

    One of my close hunting buds was born and raised at Brownwood Texas. Home of the old "Camp Bowie". POW camp there too. He said that several of the kids in the neighboorhood had put together an old cart and they had a donkey that would pull them around. They would venture out to the POW camp. As he explained, the POW's had immense and extremely beautiful vegetable gardens. The POW's would pass them veggies of all kinds thru the wire and they would fill up their cart. He said the cuards could care less. He credits the POWs with keeping them well fed during the war as all the kids dads were overseas!

    Renault
     
  20. Haversack

    Haversack Practically Family

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    Location:
    Clipperton Island
    Out in Contra Costa County north east of San Francisco is the former Byron Hot Springs Resort. Built in 1913, it was leased by the US Government in 1941 to become a high-value POW interrogation center known as Camp Tracy. Both German and Japanese POWs were questioned there and a great deal of strategic information was gained. Apparently, a good deal of the techniques and philosophy of interrogation that the US used up until the GWOT were developed there.
     

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