Time Travel: Why is there a Nazi on my farm?

What are you going to do? There they are. Nazis populating your fields, wielding sharp tools. Working for you on your farm…at your invitation.

from Fort Bend County Museum

from Fort Bend County Museum

Sound like a surreal situation? Yet all too true. Scores of American families recall World War II enemy  POWs in military camps across the states. Texas hosted the most. My current hometown in New Mexico built one atop a hill that the hospital now occupies.

The U.S. Army assigned the POWs to several tasks during their stay. A huge number were sent to local farms that suffered from a lack of wartime manpower. German soldiers filled slots left vacant from hometown boys long gone to fight those same Germans overseas. Many of them enjoyed these communities and the relatively good treatment by the military so much that they chose to stay after the war.

This slice of history fascinates me. My own grandfather (on my dad’s side; now deceased) served as a career Army officer. I found out that he inspected some of these POW camps in Texas, when my dad was just a little one. My research/ancestry bug is itching to find out more…

Questions for you: What’s something you’d want to ask a POW? How would your community react to this situation?

Do you want to know more? Check these out:

POW Art in America

Citizens share memories about POWs

Are you on Pinterest? Here’s my ongoing research board for an upcoming novel.