Michigan’s Prisoner Of War Camps, 1940s
History buffs know full well about Prisoner Of War camps during World War II.
Those who don’t know their history only think of them as death camps used by Nazi Germany. Others only know about them from reruns of “Hogan’s Heroes”. But Michigan history buffs are very aware of the P.O.W. camps we had right here in our state.
According to Michiganology, beginning around 1942, Michigan played host to well over six thousand Prisoners of War in thirty two camps, with one thousand of them in the Upper Peninsula. Michigan had a good supply of CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camps that ceased operation in 1942. These barracks were transformed into Prisoner of War camps, with most of the inmates being German soldiers captured in North Africa.
The draft system really put the kibosh on American laborers, so these prisoners of war were used in the interim. They were put to work picking fruit, corn, and other crops – and in the U.P., they were used as lumbermen cutting and storing timber. All at eighty cents a day.
The German soldiers were actually relieved to be prisoners in America, away from the brutal war, and they also knew what awaited them had they been captured by the Russians and interred in their camps.
After the war, the Germans were released and went back home.
Some stayed in touch with the friends they made in Michigan.
Others came here to live.
The ones who passed away while still prisoners were buried at Battle Creek’s Fort Custer National Cemetery.
This is just a brief, nutshell synopsis; you can read more at Michiganology.com.
Michigan’s Prisoner of War camps:
Take a look below and some photos of Michigan’s P.O.W. camps and their boarders!
Michigan's P.O.W. Camps
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