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 (1939-1945) WWII
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Lew & Ginny Gage
Cornish NH USA
Posts: 124
Joined: 2006
German POW Camps in U.S.
4/15/2021 5:54:02 PM
I don't know if this has been brought up before, but I was reminded today of one of the German POW Camps in Stark, New Hampshire. Allen V. Koop wrote a book entitled "Stark Decency, German Prisoners of War in a New England Village" back in 1988. At the time Koop was a Visiting Professor of History at Dartmouth, NH, College. Lew and I picked up this book, a paperback, in a used book store a number of years ago. Interesting book. We actually visited the site of this Camp where there is a marker indicating it. The first time we visited, we didn't know what to expect. We decided that since there were leaves on the trees, etc., that we needed to go back when the leaves were off so we could see more. We did that. We were able to go back into the property and actually saw remnants of some of their housing.

So glad we were able to do that.

I know there were other POW Camps across the U.S. I was wondering if there are any others that people have visited? If so, are there markers? Anything left to look at? Somewhere I believe I have a couple of photos, but the last time I tried to post a photo, I wasn't able to figure it out!

I know there was one camp at which is now Bradley Field in CT.

Ginny
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11823
Joined: 2009
German POW Camps in U.S.
4/15/2021 8:54:38 PM
Ginny, I believe that there were over 400 POW camps in the US during WW2. Just poking about I found one whose entry gate markers have been preserved.

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I found one in Utah that is being restored by a group of citizens.

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I don't know whether there are any fully preserved camps left in North America. I am aware of one near Bowmanville in Ontario (not far from Toronto) whose buildings are still standing but that is only because the buildings were repurposed several times after the war.

When I say buildings, I mean actual brick and mortar buildings and not wooden temporary structures. They were built before the war and not because there were POW to be held there.

This is because Camp 30 in Bowmanville only housed about 880 prisoners but in 1941, these prisoners were among the highest ranking Nazis who had been captured. The British asked Canada to take them because they wanted these people as far away from the war as possible. As well it was probably wise to keep them away from other prisoners of lower rank.

These high ranking officers were treated very well but they did try to break out and there was riot at the camp at one point. Camp 30 was allowed to deteriorate but in 2013 it received a National Historic Site of Canada designation. Hopefully, this will allow it to be preserved though some buildings considered to be, "not of historical significance" will be torn down because they are unsafe.



It even had a swimming pool



So this is the only POW camp that I know of that has buildings still standing and really, the place was not purpose built as a POW camp.

Perhaps there is something left like this somewhere in the US.

Cheers,

George











Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6571
Joined: 2006
German POW Camps in U.S.
4/15/2021 9:36:26 PM
Several German Prison Camps in Michigan! Our state did a good job keeping them under wraps!

MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3816
Joined: 2004
German POW Camps in U.S.
4/15/2021 9:53:10 PM
Ginny, I’m not aware of any PoW camps in the west, but then I can’t imagine why either nation would set them up in the west. PoWs from the European war zones were largely held initially in internment camps in captured territory, IIUC; I wonder how many Germans held in the US were German Naval personnel. I am, I admit, thinking with my fingers here.

Some eight years ago, a buddy and I visited the Orkneys. I wanted at least a sight of Scapa Flow, and there is an amazing neolithic village worth travelling a long way to see. Our guide was wonderful, including in our personalized tour the Italian Chapel, built by Italian PoWs. In its own way, it is one of the most remarkable churches I have ever visited.
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Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11823
Joined: 2009
German POW Camps in U.S.
4/16/2021 7:29:29 AM
Quote:
Several German Prison Camps in Michigan! Our state did a good job keeping them under wraps!

MD



MD, are there markers or plaques to indicate that a POW camp was on any of the sites in Michigan?

George
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11823
Joined: 2009
German POW Camps in U.S.
4/16/2021 7:53:29 AM
Brian, the US held over 400,000 POW in camps all over the country. It was my understanding that most were being held in overflowing internment camps in the UK and Britain asked the US to take some. Canada of course had been receiving them from the start of the war. We held about 35, 000 prisoners in addition to internment camps for our own residents like Japanese, Italian and German-Canadians.

But with 400,000 prisoners in the US, I would think that there would be fewer naval personnel in the mix than infantry or air crew. Some of the POW were Italians and I believe, a few Japanese. This article says that among the first POW arrivals in the US were veterans of the North Africa campaign.

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I remember reading somewhere that the US had a special camp where it shipped hardcore Nazis who were ginning up trouble in other camps or threatening fellow prisoners who co-operated with US authorities.

But Ginny is looking for evidence of the existence of POW camps anywhere in the US so if anyone has that information, please weigh in.

Cheers,

George
Lew & Ginny Gage
Cornish NH USA
Posts: 124
Joined: 2006
German POW Camps in U.S.
4/16/2021 2:37:32 PM
George,

I do not mind hearing about POW Camps in Canada as well as the U.S.

Thanks everyone for the information. Interesting articles.

BTW, my Dad was a POW in WWII in Germany after being captured in the Battle of the Bulge. How I wish I had had the interest in this while he was alive. But then, he didn't talk about his experiences in WWII. I wonder if he would have gone with me to see the Stark POW Camp in NH?

My oldest grandson is studying WWII in school right now Eighth grade.

Ginny
MPReed
Monroe MI USA
Posts: 33
Joined: 2005
German POW Camps in U.S.
10/22/2021 11:44:02 PM
There was one here in Monroe (technically Newport, but that is just a small hamlet). They worked the farms. A number stayed after the war as "war brides."

They were housed on an outlying naval airfield of the Grosse Isle naval air station. In the 50s the site became part of the Nike Missile system defending Detroit (D-57/58). The building that housed the prisoners still stands (though dilapidated. Part of the site was made into a park, most still exists, but developers hope to use most of the remainder for an industrial site. The family housing are now private homes. Back in my Civil Air Patrol days, we almost got on ethe base buildings as our base, but the Army just wouldn't go through with it.

Michael

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