Nazi Prisoners of War in America by Arnold KrammerThis is the only book available that tells the full story of how the U.S. government, between 1942 and 1945, detained nearly half a million Nazi prisoners of war in 511 camps across the country. With a new introduction and illustrated with more than 70 rare photos, Krammer describes how, with no precedents upon which to form policy, Americas handling of these foreign prisoners led to the hasty conversation of CCC camps, high school gyms, local fairgrounds, and race tracks to serve as holding areas. The Seattle Times calls Nazi Prisoners of War in America the definitive history of one of the least known segments of Americas involvement in World War II. Fascinating. A notable addition to the history of that war.
'allied' treatment of German prisoners of war in a Norwegian POW camp, June July 1945
Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox Sign me up! When the United States went to war in , what to do with enemy prisoners of war was among the last considerations of a country reeling from a Japanese attack and preparing for war in Europe. The nation had never held large numbers of foreign prisoners and was unprepared for the many tasks involved, which included registration, food, clothing, housing, entertainment, and even reeducation.
List of World War II prisoner-of-war camps in the United States
O ne morning in the spring of , years before the end of World War II, Huntsville, Texas woke up to a startling sound: the clip-clapping boots of Nazi soldiers in formation, singing German marching songs as they made their way through the dusty streets of the small town. The townspeople watched as barracks went up, surrounded by barbed wire and chain link fences, and wondered what, exactly, they were in for. Americans had only been in the war for a year when POW camps were being built, and residents of Huntsville had little time to prepare for the reality of thousands of Nazi prisoners taking up residence just eight miles from the town limits. In fact, the United States entered the prisoner of war business very reluctantly in , and then only at the insistence of the British. The Allies were winning the North African front of the war, and capturing soldiers they could not house. The British wore down the United States after months of efforts and a few frosty notes from Whitehall. The U.
In Texas, some of the Germans actually befriended Americans of all colors
Some went to work as hospital orderlies. Others picked cotton, baled hay, or tilled soil, living in accommodations near farmland. They ate dinner with families and caught the eyes of single women, running off with them whenever and however they could. Between and centers were set up across the country, but many of the prisoners wound up in Texas because of the available space and warm climate. Almost overnight, the people of Huntsville, Hearne, Mexia, and other towns experienced a kind of cruel magic trick. Their loved ones had disappeared, sent overseas to contest World War II; captured Germans materialized in their place, taking on the role of laborer.