April 2010
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Encounters with Midwesterners: personal stories

Link to Encounters with Midwesterners: personal stories

In addition to their very cool Bus-eum, TRACES has a Web site filled with interesting facts and stories about the POWs.

Their page called Encounters between Midwesterners and German or Austrian POWs includes many first-hand accounts from Americans.

For instance, this from a man named Jim Fitzgerald:

I remember as a nine year old walking home from the fourth grade we would pass the E.G. Morse Poultry house in Mason City, Iowa and see the POWs working, loading trucks and the like. We thought they were monsters until we started waving at them and they waved back, which started a relationship that has lasted till this day.

Here's one from Marjorie Myers Douglas:

I spread a faded blue tea towel over the loaves where the sunshine would help them rise, and I listened in growing bewilderment to his conversation.

“Am I talking to the officer in charge?” he asked. “Can you send me twenty of the prisoners tomorrow to stack hay bales—probably two days’ work? I’ll pay four dollars per man. By eight o’clock? And you’ll send a guard? And their food also? Sounds okay to me—tomorrow then.”

“What in the world? What prisoners?” I gasped as soon as he put the phone down.

“The mailman gave me the idea,” Don gloated. “Can you believe it? There are German prisoners of war in a temporary camp at Ortonville—just twenty miles away. We didn’t see it the day I drove you over there to Big Stone Lake. I’d never even heard of it. But they hire out the men to farms around here. I plan to get Bill Ahrens over to interpret. I’ll put a skid on the other tractor. Twenty prisoners as farm hands! We’re all set.”

Original source: Eggs in the Coffee Sheep in the Corn: My 17 Years as a Farmwife (1994).

Related Posts:
   1. Camp Algona slideshows (Iowa) (Jun 09, 2010)
   2. Bus-eum Tour, April 13 (Largo, FL) and April 17 (Englewood, FL) (Apr 07, 2010)
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