German POW's in the US

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Slater
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German POW's in the US

Post by Slater » 04 Jan 2003 16:12

Once read a book detailing the US Prisoner of War camp history and experiences. Evidently the US camp administrators actually preferred to have a large population of hardcore Nazis, as things usually ran smoother and work was done quickly and precisely. After the war, a number of POW's chose to stay in the US, and many moved their families here. I can't recall- did any Germans manage to escape and make their way back to Germany?

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Kaiser
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Post by Kaiser » 04 Jan 2003 19:41

I saw a show about the escape of some nazi's from a POW camp in Arizona - I think they were all caught after living out in the desert for awhile.

My aunt (in the US) was pen pals with some POW germans in a camp in Canada. We still have some of the letters. She sent them care packages! The letters are 1941 though so we were wondering how they were captured? On a boat or in Africa maybe?

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Billy Bishop
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Post by Billy Bishop » 04 Jan 2003 23:36

Kaiser wrote:I saw a show about the escape of some nazi's from a POW camp in Arizona - I think they were all caught after living out in the desert for awhile.

My aunt (in the US) was pen pals with some POW germans in a camp in Canada. We still have some of the letters. She sent them care packages! The letters are 1941 though so we were wondering how they were captured? On a boat or in Africa maybe?
Sorry to interrupt Slater, but German POWs were held in Canada? Cool, where though?

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eisernekreuz
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Post by eisernekreuz » 05 Jan 2003 08:08

Quite a few Germans were held in Canada, especially the survivors of the Bismarck. Here in Minnesota, we had several POW camps, a few of which were pretty large. We had a lot of Germans, and Italians as well. The book "Swords Into Plowshares" chronicles all of the POW camps in Minnesota. Interesting reading if you're interested in the POW camps in the U.S.

~Zach

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Scott Smith
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Papago POWs

Post by Scott Smith » 05 Jan 2003 09:45

German POWs in the USA were treated quite well until the war was over and all Allied POWs had been released. Then German POWs had their rations cut and were kept as forced-labors for some time after the war, but most were released about a year later. They were all shipped back to Germany, often to remain in prison camps for even longer and sometimes used as forced-labor. Many eventually did immigrate to the United States, but none were allowed to stay here.

Interestingly, there was a murder in the Papago Park POW camp. The Americans used electronic listening devices at some of their camps and would encourage stoolies to get other prisoners to talk about classified material. One such German sailor was transferred from Texas to Papago Park, Arizona, where his reputation preceeded him and he was found hanging in the bathroom in his underwear the next day. He had put up a good fight. The perpetrators were put to death in Fort Leavenworth, the last military executions in the USA.

I've posted material about the Papago Park POW camp and the Faustball Tunnel escape many times on the forum. Here is one thread:

POW camps in US

Caldric
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Post by Caldric » 05 Jan 2003 11:06

Member POW has a good website on the subject.

http://home.arcor.de/kriegsgefangene/usa/index.html

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Post by Haegg » 05 Jan 2003 12:27

Speaking about POW who escaped and Canada in the same thread made me think of Franz von Werra. von Werra who was a Luftwaffw pilot managed to escape from captivity in Cananda. He slipped inte the US and from there made his way back to Germany and active duty again. This was before US joined the war.

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Post by Slater » 05 Jan 2003 15:20

I remember reading one story about a German POW that escaped from a US camp, made his way to Chicago (I think), somehow obtained a Social Security Number, opened a business, married, and eventually turned himself in (1n 1985!). He had to leave the country for one day and then return. This was a news story back then. Why someone would turn themself in after 40 years is beyond me.

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Kaiser
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Post by Kaiser » 05 Jan 2003 17:46

Billy - I don't have the letters with me unfortunately but I think the POW camp may have been in Saskatchuan (sp?) Near Regina maybe? I think like the ones in the US they tended to put them in the middle of BFE to make escape all the more difficult!

K

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Kaiser
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Post by Kaiser » 05 Jan 2003 17:50

Scott-

You said ALL of the german POW's were sent back after the war? I didn't know that - I would have thought that they would want to keep some more specialzed ones to help fight the Red scourge, like they did with some of the scientists? Interesting...

K

LEVE
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Post by LEVE » 06 Jan 2003 05:02

Slater wrote:I remember reading one story about a German POW that escaped from a US camp, made his way to Chicago (I think), somehow obtained a Social Security Number, opened a business, married, and eventually turned himself in (1n 1985!). He had to leave the country for one day and then return. This was a news story back then. Why someone would turn themself in after 40 years is beyond me.
I believe that book was:

"Hitler's Last Soldier in America," by Georg Gaertner, Arnold Krammer

It was also made into a movie.

Sergeant Georg Gaertner served in Afrika KorpsGaertner. He was caputred May 15, 1943 at Tunis. He was sent to New Mexico. Then he escaped in September of 1945 from Camp Phillips. He was to be sent back to Germany, to the city of origion, and in his case that was Schweidtnitz/Breslau which in the Soviet partition. Not a good thing thought Georg...so over the hill he went... and remained a fugitive till he turned himself in...in 1985. He used the name Dennis Whiles.

It's qutie a story and worth the read.

Image
Image

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Dan Reinbold
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POW Camps in Canada

Post by Dan Reinbold » 06 Jan 2003 06:51

Billy Bishop...just for your reference there were a number of German POW camps located in Canada

The only site I have been to is near what is now Kananaskis Region of Alberta (1 hour west of Calgary). There were at least two camps (Ozada and Kananaskis-Seebee) that I know of...there is a small memorial located there as well. German POW's cleared timber and constructed a damn which formed Barrier Lake and this is where the memorial is. Beautiful area if you ever get a chance to visit.

There were also camps located in the following areas:

Medicine Hat, AB
Lethbridge, AB
Banff, AB
Armstrong, ON
Kingston, ON
Bowmanville, ON
Gravehurst, ON
Kitchener, ON

I am sure there were others as well.

I hope this helps.

Dan

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Aufklarung
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Post by Aufklarung » 06 Jan 2003 16:52

Billy B
Just drive up the Camp Borden near Barrie ON and you'll see what German POWs did. The Base Museum has lots on the Camp there during the war. All the Trees on Base are in perfect rows and about 60 years old!!

Still mourning
A :(

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