Men in German Uniform, Antonio Thompson. In the 1940s, Camp Campbell served as one of the prison camps where
enemy soldiers captured on battlefields in Europe and Asia were housed. Thompson's new book, "Men in German
Uniforms: POWs in America During World War II," examines the unusual and overlooked phenomena of the U.S.
housing some 371,000 German soldiers at that time.
"This book is a larger study of overall U.S. policy for POWs in the entire nation, not just one state or one camp," he
said. "But I do focus in on certain camps. Of interest to some Tennesseans, I talk about Camp Crossville, which is in
At that camp, German prisoners made several concerted efforts to escape and caused trouble for their captors. On
one occasion, a couple of prisoners found a Sears and Roebuck catalog that had been discarded by one of the
guards. "They flip through it and see turkeys, dishes, silverware, and so they send off for all this stuff," Thompson
said. "It actually gets delivered to the barracks, and the American guards actually let them keep the dishes and
silverware, but nothing else."
All of these books are available from
Amazon.com either directly or from 3rd
party vendors selling through them.
If you are interested in doing additional reading on German POWS in America during WWII, here are several
worthwhile books and links. There are many more book available on this subject, in fact, far too many to list.
These are simply my personal favorites. If your interest in WWII also includes human interest stories, I have also
listed several outstanding books well worth reading here. These run a full gamut of subjects from the Holocaust
to personal accounts of hardship and survival.
Guests Behind the Barbed Wire, Ruth Beaumont Cook. This book chronicles the building and operation of Camp
Aliceville in Aliceville, Alabama, the largest German prisoner of war camp in the United States. Daily camp life,
which included a POW newspaper, dance band, theatrical troupe, classes, and athletic events for the 6,000 Germans
interned, is documented with fascinating and meticulous historical detail. Presents a never-more-relevant look into
the nature of war, peace, and the principles of human dignity. Includes a special photo section and complete index.
A must for the WWII collection of every retailer, library, and history buff. Named a finalist in ForeWord Magazine's
Book of the Year Awards.
Nazi Prisoners of War in America, Arnold Krammer. This is the only book available that tells the complete 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, updated bibliography, and more than seventy rare photos, Nazi
Prisoners in America describes America's first experience detaining so many foreign prisoners of war. Anyone
interested in American history will want to read about the hasty conversion of high school gyms, local fairgrounds,
and racetracks to serve as holding area, and the public relations problems that ensued. There were escapes, Nazism
in the camps, kangaroo courts, and political murders among the prisoners. One escaped German POW received a tax
rebate from the IRS and opened a bookstore in Chicago, while another, who remained at large until 1985,
surrendered after reading the hardcover edition of this book. Nazi Prisoners of War in America is an exhaustively
researched and fascinating history of one of the most incredible facets of America's participation in World War II.
Hitler’s Soldiers in the Sunshine State, Robert D. Billinger, Jr. In the first book-length treatment of the German
prisoner of war experience in Florida during World War II, Billinger tells the story of the 10,000 men who were
"guests" of Uncle Sam in a tropical paradise that for some became a tropical hell. Having been captured while serving
on U-boats off the Carolinas, with the Afrika Korps in Tunisia, with the paratroops in Italy, or with labor battalions in
France, the POWs were among the 378,000 Germans held as prisoners in 45 states. Except for the servicemen who
guarded them, the civilian pulp-cutters, citrus growers, and sugarcane foremen who worked them, and the FBI and
local police who tracked the escapees among them, most people were--and still are--unaware of the German POWs
who inhabited the 27 camps that dotted the Sunshine State. Billinger describes the experiences of the Germans and
their captors as both sides came to the realization that, while the Germans' worst enemies were often their own
comrades-in-arms, wartime enemies might also become life-long friends. Concentrating especially on the story of
Camp Blanding in North Florida, Billinger based his research on both American and German archives. His account
mixes rare photos with interviews with former prisoners; reports by the International Red Cross, the YMCA, and the
U.S. military; and local newspaper articles.
Stalag Wisconsin: Inside WW II Prisoner-of-War Camps, Betty Cowlry. This is a comprehensive look inside Wisconsin's
38 branch camps that held 20,000 Nazi and Japanese prisoners of war during World War II. Most worked on farms,
harvesting peas and other crops. Many of these prisoners blended with the local community, drinking at taverns and
even dating local young women. Some returned and settled in Wisconsin after their release. Their familiarity with
local residents caused resentment by returning soldiers who had battled them in Europe and Asia.
A story of
German POWs in America