Wednesday Nostalgia

Did you realize that there was a German POW camp in Washington state? It was in the way northeast, at Sullivan Lake. Can’t say that this is a correct picture but it looks likely:

According to The Northest Legacy: Magazine of Local History, March 1977, article by Faith Wentz,  “in 1944 America had been at war for three years. The farms and processing plants faced a great labor shortage during the war due to the fact that most able-bodied men were wearing a uniform and doing their part in the war effort.”

“At that same time, six million POWs were in Allied hands; many of these POWs were brought to the U.S. to help in the harvesting of the crops necessary to sustain the soldiers fighting on the front lines. For this reason several POW camps were established in the Northwest.”

One camp in the Chelan area helped with the apple harvest. Most likely the Sullivan Lake camp helped with lumbering. These ex-German soldiers helps with the corn and sugar beet harvests.

“Not all Americans were happy with this situation….. of having around 2500 German POWs in their midst. But no serious incidents were ever recorded.

“Apparently the prisoners were glad to be in America and away from the war. They were unfamiliar with the work they were asked to do but were eager learners; they were paid in script they could use to purchase such things as cigarettes and candy. Most of them had never eaten corn before and when they were given corn on the cob “they became Americanized.”

“In 1945 the war was over and the POWs left the valley………. ” I wonder what became of these nearly 2500 young German men?

One comment on “Wednesday Nostalgia

  1. Muriel Douglass says:

    My brother-in-law was stationed at Malott, WA, to guard the German prisoners of war while they were picking apples in 1944. He ended up marrying my sister April 3, 1945, and only made one trip back to his home in Long Island, NY, in more than 50 years of marriage, living in Okanogan, WA, until his death in 2010.

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