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“To Win Our War with Butter and Beefsteaks”
Camp Crossville and the Treatment of Axis Prisoners of War

by Gregory Kupsky


At a 4-H camp a few miles outside of Crossville, Tennessee, an empty hospital building, a lone chimney, and a collection of photos and artifacts are the only remnants of the prisoner of war camp that closed shortly after World War II. Called the “Jap Camp” by locals despite the absence of Japanese prisoners, Camp Crossville housed over 1,500 German and Italian prisoners of war between the first prisoners’ arrivals in November 1942 and the camp’s closing in December 1945.1 During that time, the camp became a community of prisoners, staff, and local residents, all of whom experienced both positive and negative interactions with one another. As with the nationwide system of camps, the history of Camp Crossville is one of unities and divisions, of the ideologically charged interactions among guards, prisoners, and local residents.

Within the camp system the Crossville camp was unique, in the sense that it alone had the official designation of an officers’ camp. However, evidence tends to show that, in terms of daily life and overall experience, more similarities than differences exist between Crossville and the average POW camp in the U.S. As such, Camp Crossville makes important statements about the participants of the Second World War, as well as the overall POW system’s achievements and shortcomings.

Official government records and reports provide a glance at the institutional aspects of the American POW camp system, such as the steps leading to their creation, statistics, and official policies. Especially important are the files of the Army Provost Marshal General’s Office (PMGO), which oversaw the entire camp program.2 This collection includes inspection reports, formal complaints by prisoners, and officials’ opinions of individual prisoners and events. A few books, such as Judith Gansberg’s Stalag USA and Arnold Krammer’s Nazi Prisoners of War in America, present a national view of the camp system, with anecdotes from camps throughout the country.3 As these books demonstrate, most studies of individual state systems or individual camps rely heavily on oral histories and memoirs, since official records do not effectively depict everyday life.4

There are a few such accounts of life at the Crossville camp. In 1964, Herston Cooper, the camp’s stockade commander, published a quasi-memoir, Crossville: How Did We Treat Our POWs?, so that interested residents of Cumberland County could understand their community’s role. Two prisoners, Lieutenant Hans Albert Smolinski Albertson and Lieutenant Gerhard Hennes, have both written memoirs discussing their reflections on life in the camps. Oral histories with Gerhard Hennes and Earlene Aytes, a secretary at the camp, provide a few additional insights into the camp’s relationship with the community.5

A comparison of Camp Crossville’s conditions and dynamics to those of other camps will demonstrate the extent to which it generally coincided with nationwide trends In addition, an examination of interactions between prisoners and guards will tie the Crossville experience to controversies and arguments about the American POW system’s role in defeating Nazism.

Creation of the POW Program

In the First World War, captured German soldiers had remained in Europe, and authorities in the United States had been responsible for only 1,346 naval prisoners.6 In August 1942, however, the transfer of 50,000 German prisoners from Great Britain in August 1942 demonstrated that the Second World War would present a much greater logistical challenge to the U.S. Provost Marshal General’s camp system.7 Planners quickly established new sites for camps throughout the country, and later expanded the system as enemy soldiers surrendered en masse, first in Africa, and later in Europe. Ultimately, 155 base camps would be built in nearly every state.8 Four of the camps would be located in Tennessee: Camp Crossville, Camp Forrest (Tullahoma), Camp Campbell, and the Memphis Armed Service Forces Depot.9

The people of Cumberland County were actually more than willing to host a military facility. According to Herston Cooper, the stockade commander, this willingness was a testament to their sense of “civic obligation in the war effort.” He also emphasized the selflessness of the act, since the installation would not provide an overwhelming number of jobs.10 Indeed, a patriotic spirit did exist in Cumberland County, as indicated by residents’ enthusiastic participation in the War Bond effort.11 But regardless of the actual number of potential jobs, residents certainly foresaw economic benefits in the proposition, as well. Reports in the Crossville Chronicle in the spring and summer of 1942 frequently mentioned the $3,000,000 price tag on the proposed installation, often adding that construction would rely heavily on local labor and resources. When the War Department finally approved the camp’s installation in Crossville in late June, the paper printed statements from local residents, who lauded the decision as “the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to Cumberland County,” because it meant “increased business, citizenship and prosperity.” During August, the steady flow of applicants to the camp employment office suggests that residents did indeed perceive the new installation as a blessing for the local economy.12

At first, residents had only vague notions about what the new installation’s function would be. Initially, some believed that the camp would be an “alien concentration camp” for civilians with ethnic ties to Axis countries, presumably Japan. This seems to have been the belief in April 1942 when the Crossville Chronicle, assuming that whole families would be interned, explained to locals that the enemy aliens were not “necessarily bad people.” By August, the paper referred to the installation as an “officer alien camp,” indicating a closer understanding of the camp’s purpose. By the time residents learned that the prisoners were Germans and Italians, however, the nickname “The Jap Camp” had stuck, and it persisted well after the war.13

POW Camp Life

The camp stockade consisted of two twelve-foot barbed wire fences, with guard houses along the outside perimeter. Within the stockade sat the Stockade Commander’s Office, the camp hospital, the barracks, latrines, mess halls, and the prisoner canteen. The individually fenced-in compounds separated the quarters of German officers, German enlisted men, Italian officers, and Italian enlisted men. Outside the stockade stood the Camp Commander’s Office, staff quarters, administrative buildings, the auditorium-gymnasium, the camp fire house, and the guard house.14 It is important to remember that little interaction took place between the two areas, which, in some ways, were different worlds. American personnel generally only entered the camps during inspections or on other such formal business, and guards were, at least officially, forbidden to casually converse with prisoners.15 Major incidents aside, the German POWs themselves were in charge of affairs within their camp.

Hans Albertson, a German Second Lieutenant who arrived on April 28, 1943, observed that the new camp “looked rather barren and sterile--no trees within, no bushes, just gravel roads and barracks!” But within a few months, the “green thumbs” among the prisoners went to work, and the grounds became adorned with flowers, plants, and bushes.16

The barracks, while sparse, were certainly livable. Two prisoners shared a ten-foot-by-ten-foot bedroom. Two bedrooms shared by a common area furnished with a stove, closets, and a table and chairs. As Albertson remembers, prisoners could use a nearby scrap lumber pile to build more furniture.17

As in other camps, prisoners in Crossville followed a daily routine. Shortly before 8 a.m., prisoners would be awakened for breakfast.18 A roll call immediately followed breakfast, and work or leisure time then commenced until lunch. The 5 p.m. roll call, which often consisted of several head counts, was described by Albertson as “the main event of the day.” Leisure time then continued, and while the compound gates closed at 10 p.m., there was no curfew within the individual compounds.19

Many prisoners filled their time by participating in the labor program. According to the Geneva Convention, captors could require prisoners to work, provided that the work was not dangerous, and that their labor did not directly benefit the war effort. Officer POWs could not be required to work, but could work if they chose, while NCOs could only be employed in supervisory roles.20 Enlisted workers initially received eighty cents per day, in addition to the ten cents given daily to all enlisted men. After April 1944, an incentive system allowed them to make as much as $1.20 for a day’s work. Throughout the war, officers received between $20 and $40 per month, depending on rank. All pay was in the form of canteen coupons, and outstanding balances at the time of release would be paid in German currency.21

In-camp occupations included maintenance and construction, as well as services for other prisoners, such as barbers, cooks, and janitors. But many POW laborers also worked outside the camps, for private employers. These employers entered into contracts with the Provost Marshal General’s Office, by which the latter agreed to transport, guard, and provide for the workers. The employer was responsible for training, equipment, and supervision, and for directly paying the PMGO, which then distributed the pay to workers in the form of canteen coupons.22

For prisoners at Crossville, work outside camp was usually on private farms, but some also worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority or the University of Tennessee.23 An article in the Crossville Chronicle in late 1944 advertised the labor program, explaining the process for acquiring POW labor to local farmers.24 The program met with some success, as 160 of Crossville’s German officer POWs volunteered to work alongside 202 enlisted prisoners in Cumberland and Fentress counties.25

Although Lieutenant Hans Albertson was exempt from mandatory labor, he welcomed the opportunity to work. He and a friend requested permission to grow crops on a nearby farm, a request the camp commander granted. Enjoying the opportunity to walk to the farm and spend the day outside the stockade, Albertson and his friends found themselves swamped with “applicants” who wanted to join in the project.26 For Gerhard Hennes, on the other hand, work was not an option. As he explains in his memoir, he remained within the substantial group of officers who refused to be seen “currying favors with our captors.”27

Nationwide, the camp labor program was a success. By 1945, an estimated 95.6 percent of employable prisoners were working. By war’s end, the PMGO estimated that these prisoners contributed approximately 34,219,185 man-days of labor to the nation’s economy, of which Crossville alone provided 716,018.28 Camp authorities could not have achieved such results without a cooperative spirit among the prisoners.

While a generally cordial relationship clearly existed, there were some scenes of violence, as well. The national system’s worst incident took place on the night of 8-9 July, 1945, in Salina, Utah. During the night, Clarence Bertucci, a guard at the camp, suddenly began to fire his tower’s machine gun into the group of tents which housed the German POWs. Killing nine and wounding nineteen, Bertucci explained that he disliked Germans, and that he had acted on a long-standing temptation. Camp authorities advocated a court-martial, but Bertucci was ultimately ruled insane and confined to a mental institution.29 It is worth emphasizing that this incident, by far the worst that took place in the American camps, was the result of individual derangement, not official policy.

While no event at Crossville rivals the violence at Salina, there was one significant incident, referred to by Herston Cooper as the “battle of Crossville.” In February 1943, during a routine “property check” in which guards searched prisoners’ quarters for contraband and signs of escape plots, a group of officers refused to depart to the recreation field, as was the normal practice. According to Cooper, Captain Jurgen Wattenberg, the prisoners’ spokesman at that time, refused to relay the guards’ orders because he hoped to provoke an uprising to embarrass his captors. Eventually an armed guard advanced, bayonets fixed, and compelled the prisoners to vacate.

Later in the day, Cooper says, several prisoners rushed him, with one prisoner, Erich Gräf, placing him in a “painful ‘hammer lock.’” Cooper began kicking at Gräf with his steel-rimmed boots, and other guards came to the stockade commander’s aid. Some time later, the camp hospital announced that Gräf died from peritonitis from an injury sustained “maybe by a rifle butt, but more to be believed by the steel-rimmed heel of a field shoe.”30

The aftermath of the incident caused a confrontation of a different sort. According to Army regulations, POWs who died while interned were entitled to an honorable burial. Gräf’s funeral, which all of the German officers attended, featured a large wooden Iron Cross, complete with a swastika. After the ceremony, officials arranged for Gräf to be buried in the local cemetery, a fact that did not sit well with the local community. A group of citizens, led by the mayor of Crossville, allegedly warned the camp commander that Gräf must be removed from the local cemetery, or angry residents would “dig him up and hang him on Main Street.” With little delay, the commander had Gräf’s remains removed from the Crossville cemetery, reburied inside the camp, and eventually transferred to a site at Camp Forrest in Tullahoma.31

Such events were the exception rather than the rule. In general, camp life in Crossville, as in other camps, was uneventful. For the most part, guards, prisoners, and locals acted cordially and cooperatively towards each other. However, as the war reached its end, Americans began to reflect on the nature of the American camp system. Should the camps be punitive or instructive? Should captured agents of Fascism be treated so well, when American soldiers were still trying to defeat their comrades? What was to become of them after the war? These uncertainties led many to criticize the Provost Marshal General’s policies, as Americans began to wonder whether their enemies received such cozy living arrangements.

Were They “Coddled?”

As most descriptions suggest, POWs in America were by no means “roughing it.” For example, many prisoners’ fondest memories seem to be of the abundant food. They generally ate their fill at each meal, often enjoying “delicacies” they had not had in years, such as coffee, eggs, and meat. Hennes remembers that, even despite prisoners’ appetites, meals could produce several garbage cans of wasted food.32 Between meals, too, prisoners could purchase a variety of products at the canteen, and order from the building’s Sears-Roebuck catalog. Prisoners could exchange their coupons for Coke, cigarettes, ice cream, candy, or beer, which even local residents were not allowed to have.33 Many Africa Corps soldiers, who had become accustomed to meager rations, actually became sick from the abundant and rich food they received in prison.

In addition to the food, the laxity of the guards also added to the overall comfort level. At many camps, a simple pledge by the prisoners that they would not escape was enough for authorities to reduce the number of guards.34 At Crossville, while Albertson and his friends worked on their farm, the solitary guard often dozed off, after receiving assurances from the prisoners that they would rouse him if an inspection party approached.35

The German and Italian prisoners apparently became all too accustomed to their new lifestyle, as shown by their demands and complaints to camp authorities. Officers complained about the valet service, since their enlisted valets often found better things to do than wait on them. Demands for pets--which were sometimes approved--included requests for a dog, a monkey, and a canary. The Italian officers asked for partitions in the showers and the right to take baths, but the commander drew the line when they requested individual name plates on the partitions. An increase in the beer allowance, phonographs, short-wave radios, a swimming pool, and interactions with women were among the prisoners’ denied requests.36

This level of comfort and laxity was not unique to Crossville. An ex-POW from a Colorado camp recalls picking up a rifle and setting it next to a sleeping guard. Throughout the country, prisoners enjoyed traveling in passenger trains and being waited on in Pullman cars on the way to their camps. One Italian prisoner remembers receiving three meals a day on his train journey, while his guards only had two. Plus, after Mussolini’s fall, Italian POWs, technically no longer enemies, received even more privileges. Italians in camps near large cities sometimes received permission to go sightseeing, and often attended dances and dinners in local Italian-American communities.37

As these conditions became public knowledge, and as news of harsh treatment of American POWs reached the U.S., the public lashed out at the Army for “coddling” the German and Italian prisoners. A Newsweek article in May 1945 juxtaposed accounts from German and American POW camps to show that the average American POW in Germany lost an unhealthy amount of weight, while the average German POW in America often gained weight after capture. The article also noted that, at the same time American POWs were telling their liberators about thousand-mile forced marches in Germany, the Nazi prisoners were openly celebrating Hitler’s birthday.38 A letter from a group of GIs in Italy to the Louisville Courier-Journal expressed anger at the news of “Italian prisoners of war having a splendid time with our American girls.”39 In one extreme instance, fifty African-Americans rioted and attacked a group of Italian prisoners at Fort Lawton, Seattle, out of resentment for their former enemies’ reception of better treatment.40 Public reaction as a whole was so strong, in fact, that the House Military Affairs Committee conducted a formal investigation to determine whether or not the United States was indeed “coddling” the Axis prisoners.

A Defense of “Coddling”

An important element of camp authorities’ defense was the clarification of misunderstandings. For example, citizens of Cumberland County raised questions about the Maidens United For Fun Service (MUFFS), an organization that provided entertainment for the guards and personnel at Camp Crossville. The camp’s public relations office released a statement to dispel the rumor that the MUFFS were actually dancing with the German internees, not the guards.41 To ameliorate hostility towards the increasingly visible Italian prisoners, officials and reporters reminded the public that, since their government had surrendered, Italian prisoners were now classified as “co-belligerents.”42 In a response to a complaint about lax treatment, Colonel Francis Howard of the Army POW Division explained that many Italian prisoners who were “in sympathy with the Allied cause” had joined Italian Service Units to aid the American war effort, and subsequently they were “afforded minor privileges.”43

In its investigation of the “coddling” charges, the House Military Affairs Committee found that many civilian complaints about extravagant privileges, such as “parties, picnics, dances … [and] sightseeing tours,” were based on hearsay, and that these events did not actually take place.44 In terms of the camps’ actual comfort levels, the committee stressed that the Provost Marshal General merely adhered to the Geneva Convention, and it questioned the credibility of the protesters: “the conclusion is inescapable that any complaints of laxity in our control and treatment of war prisoners come from persons who have never heard of that state document [the Geneva Convention] and are therefore unaware of its definite provisions.” It found the remainder of the complaints to be from “persons in more obscure walks of life; people who were prejudiced because they were generally bitter to begin with and who would form opinions and perpetuate stories without bothering to ascertain the facts.”45

Officials at other levels also gave practical reasons for comfortable treatment. At Camp Crossville, Herston Cooper believed that Nazism was best met with responses fitting a “civilized and honorable” country. By treating the prisoners respectfully, Cooper believed, the Nazis among them might “be convinced of the pseudo properties of their persuasion.”46 The Provost Marshal General himself, Maj. Gen. Archibald Lerch, emphasized that “any non-adherence by this government probably would result in instant retaliation against American prisoners held in Germany.”47 Before 1945, he said, camps in Germany had seemed to be operating within the confines of the Geneva Convention. He added that more recent abuses were most probably a direct result of the “internal crackup” within Germany, rather than a renunciation of the Geneva Convention, and therefore the document’s provisions were still in effect.48

The most effective practical arguments for American treatment of POWs were summed up in a speech by Lieutenant Newton Margulies, the Assistant Judge Advocate at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri. Addressing an audience in April 1945, Margulies listed the three primary reasons for POWs’ treatment. First, he explained that news of POWs’ treatment reached the German lines, where more prisoners might be enticed to surrender. In his words, it was “eminently more sensible, and really more clever, to win our war with butter and beefsteaks instead of bullets and bombs.”49 This argument seems valid, especially considering the fact that an estimated eighty to ninety percent of German POWs interrogated in Europe revealed that they anticipated good treatment in the hands of the U.S.50

Second, Margulies said that humane treatment made for more docile prisoners, thus reducing security needs. He pointed to the relatively small number of escapes, as well as the complete absence of acts of sabotage by prisoners, as support for this assertion. Furthermore, if the accounts of Hennes and Albertson are any indication, continuing hostility was far from the minds of the generally contented prisoners. Even their escape stories seem benign, as will be seen later.

Finally, giving the prisoners jobs outside the camps filled the manpower shortage caused by the war. By offering monetary incentives, the camp authorities fostered the abandonment of Nazi ideals, and watched as “the Nazi sniper became the American farmer!”51 Prisoners focused their time and energy on working for canteen credit, while actually aiding the American economy. The House Military Affairs Committee estimated that prisoners’ labor translated into $80 million in improvements to military installations, and contract labor contributed $20 million toward the maintenance cost of the camp system.52

As Margulies’s arguments demonstrate, the camp system’s comfort level benefited the camps themselves, the economy, and the war effort. However, questions remained about the camps’ long-term effects on the prisoners, and Americans wondered whether the government might do more to “de-Nazify” the nearly half a million German prisoners in its custody.

Arrogance, Escapes, and True Defiance

Even after capture, there were many examples of German arrogance in the face of the pleasant conditions. Thanking his guards for the excellent food and living space, one German officer remarked, “When Germany wins the war, that will be at least one good mark on your record.” In a similar vein, some German POWs would question the practicality of studying English: “After the war’s over, everybody is going to speak German here.”53 In Crossville, some acts of defiance took place, but at least one such event backfired. Refusing to celebrate Thanksgiving, many German soldiers decided to save their turkey until the following Sunday. The end result was an overfilled camp hospital on Monday morning, thanks to the ample servings of four-day-old thawed turkey.54

There were also a number of unsuccessful escape attempts throughout the country.55 Despite the fact that none were successful, some officials became annoyed by the ease with which the escapes traveled among the public. In the April 1944 issue of American Magazine, a frustrated J. Edgar Hoover presented several true stories in which unobservant citizens fed, clothed, or even gave transportation to German escapees. After stressing the outrageousness of each story, such as the POW who spent an afternoon drinking with an unknowing American soldier in Nashville, Hoover mentioned the slip-ups that finally brought each prisoner back into the hands of authorities, and admonished the American people to be more watchful. Ironically, one prisoner hailed the article as a “gift from heaven,” because it provided a “complete blueprint telling how to escape. Do it alone. Do not talk any more than absolutely necessary. Go as far as possible as quickly as you can. Have some cash.”56

Hoover also told readers that escapees were rabid Nazis. Although none had committed acts of espionage, he argued, “they might have.” Hoover believed that “every one of these … prisoners at one time or another broods upon his confinement and tries to figure out some means of escaping.” After all, since “every prisoner of war has taken an oath to uphold the forces of Nazism and Fascism,” they logically sought to continue the war at all costs.57

But the escape stories themselves suggests that most German escapees in the United States were simply looking for alternatives to the monotony of camp life. For one thing, as Hoover admits, none of the escapees ever attempted any acts of sabotage.58 An escaped prisoner usually spent a small period of time dawdling in the area around his camp, before either being captured or returning to the stockade. In the most famous escape, the digging of the “Faustball Tunnel” at Papago Park, Arizona, all of the prisoners were back in the camp almost immediately, after a short breath of fresh air. Captain Jurgen Wattenberg was the last to be captured: he turned himself in to a police officer in downtown Phoenix after less than a month.59

Some escape stories also reflect a simple desire for excitement. Four prisoners who escaped from a train in Kansas stole several cars in making their escape, leading police on a high speed chase through the eastern part of the state. When police finally caught them and returned them to camp, a photographer who snapped a picture of them remarked that their actions served as proof of the Germans’ “unsubdued belligerence.” However, the four smiling faces in the picture imply that the only real motivation behind the escape was the excitement of the adventure itself.60

Camp Crossville’s own escape story points to a desire for a change of pace, as well. On Saturday, October 23, 1943, camp authorities first became aware of the absence of Captain Wolfgang Hellfritsch. After hiding in a garbage truck as it left the camp, Hellfritsch began hitchhiking, and allegedly even rode for a while with a highway patrolman who had his photograph on the dashboard.61 By the end of the following week his picture appeared on the front page of the Nashville Tennessean, with a report that he had been seen jumping from a train bound for Ohio. Other papers across the state also gave his description and warned residents to be on the lookout. After four months, on February 18, 1944, the FBI finally caught up to Hellfritsch, who had been working for some time on a farm near Lexington, Kentucky.62 As with the other escape cases, Hellfritsch does not seem to have had any persistent desire to wage war on the United States. His story, like that of the average escapee, supports Margulies’s defense of comfortable treatment, while at the same time disproving Hoover’s assurance of continued hostility.


Camp Crossville did, however, have a number of encounters with genuine Nazis. The best example of this friction is the camp’s brush with one of the more infamous German POWs, Captain Jurgen Wattenberg, a participant in the aforementioned tunnel escape in Papago Park, Arizona. Previously the navigation officer of the battleship Graf Spee, and the commander of the submarine U-162, Wattenberg was one of the first officers to arrive at Camp Crossville in late 1942.63 He became the prisoners’ official spokesmen, despite the legal claim of a German colonel to the position, and Stockade Commander Cooper quickly came to perceive him as a dyed-in-the-wool Nazi.64 This assumption was not unfounded, considering the naval officer’s belief that “the Fuehrer expects us to make trouble.”65

As spokesman, Wattenberg considered any acts of cooperation by his subordinates to be treason. According to camp authorities’ reports, he demanded that prisoners let him censor their letters, and he threatened collaborators with capital punishment. He also encouraged fellow prisoners to “pester” their guards by taunting them and running laps around the stockade perimeter to confuse them. Such behavior eventually exhausted the patience of Crossville’s authorities, who began to request for his transfer as early as July 1943. Finally, in January 1944, he departed Crossville for Camp Papago Park, Arizona, where he displayed similar behavior.66

Another such character was Major Friedrich Johannes Werner. A protestant minister, Werner quickly annoyed camp officials with his generally pro-Nazi sermons. The following excerpt, reported to the Camp Commander by William Kanning, the American chaplain, demonstrates the hostile nature of the Major’s message:


Today we hold the Fortress of Europe against all the World. God did not give Germany great riches in natural resources, but he did give her men who could work and fight and make a rightful place for us in the sun. Germany is struggling for her rightful amount of room in the world in which to live. She will never be defeated, if she does not lose faith in her historical mission in the world.


Following transfer requests in October 1943 which accused him of doing “more promoting for the State religion of Hilter than … for the Christian religion,” Major Werner was moved to Camp Alva, Oklahoma, a camp designated for the most ardent Nazis.67

But the persistence of Nazism apparently extended beyond the acts of a few individuals. Because the American personnel remained, for the most part, outside the stockade, internal discipline was the responsibility of German noncommissioned officers, whom American authorities permitted to dole out punishments for minor offenses within the camp. However, in the winter of 1944-45, various sources indicated that this system preserved a strong Nazi undercurrent in Camp Crossville.

First, in December a group of officer prisoners submitted an anonymous letter to the Camp Commander, to protest the internal organization of their camp. They reported that the camp spokesman, who was supposed to act merely as an intermediary between prisoners and guards, actually assumed the role of a military commander, placing pro-Nazi officers in charge of the press, the library, the curriculum, and in other roles. In some ways, they said, this authoritarian system “even surpasse[d] conditions within Germany itself.” By socially isolating anti-Nazis and using death threats against them and their families, the Nazi elements allegedly maintained control over the inmates.68

Other reports emerged which corroborated these claims. Following an official inspection of the camp in January 1945, which included interviews with prisoners, Captain William F. Raugust concluded that the camp spokesman ruled in a “dictatorial manner,” using “courts of honor” to try anti-Nazis. Worse yet, he reported that POWs were “forced to remain in the mess halls after each evening meal while a distorted news communiqué [was] read.” A month later, a State Department inspection made the same observations.69

Firsthand accounts by prisoners also suggest the presence of Nazism in the POW leadership and population. As Albertson remembers, when a German doctor in Camp Crossville learned that his son was killed in action, he angrily condemned Hitler. The ranking German officer subsequently court-martialed him and forbade the other officers to associate with him.70 Worse yet, some even feared for their lives. In a letter to the camp commander, Eberhard van Nuis, a known anti-Nazi, reported receiving a note on his doorstep “with the message that my death was a matter of decision and that I had forfeited my life.” Death threats continued even after he had himself placed in protective custody, and he ultimately received a transfer to another camp.71

Admittedly, Crossville’s worst incidents of Nazi “discipline” paled in comparison to other camps. In Camp Aliceville, Alabama, a German who declared himself a communist was nearly lynched before American guards rescued him. Worse still was the lot of a prisoner in Hearne, Texas, beaten to death by pro-Nazi prisoners.72 No such deaths occurred in the Crossville camp, although, according to one rumor, one lucky anti-Nazi received a transfer just as “the knife was sharpened.”73

Some officials felt that, regardless of ideology, allowing the Nazis to maintain order in the camps made life simpler for the guards. However, as a writer for the Atlantic Monthly argued at the time, while the system did provide an efficient order, the net result was the entrenchment of Nazi ideology: “Shall we send [the prisoners] home with a clearer understanding of this country’s decision to stand no more of their nonsense, or with an indulgent notion that we are simpletons, against whom a third try will succeed?”74


In April 1945, Democratic Congressman Richard F. Harless of Arizona became outraged after inspecting his state’s Papago Park camp and finding “pampered, well-fed German prisoners as fat as hogs there.” Unimpressed by the Military Affairs Committee’s findings, he asked for further investigation. Harless also strongly objected to the presence of Nazi leadership in the camps, protesting the fact that “the United States has not done a single thing to educate German prisoners in the American way of life.”75 In fact, there was such an effort, although its effectiveness has remained questionable.

Most camps supported educational systems, in which prisoners could take a variety of college courses, from foreign languages to woodworking. As part of the education programs in most camps, prisoners also had access to the resources of the Special Projects Division (SPD), which headed a “reeducation” program to educate captured soldiers about democracy. Widespread use of the SPD’s films, instructional materials, and other educational programs indicates a strong desire for these activities throughout the POW population.76 The inmates at Camp Crossville were no exception: both Gerhard Hennes and Albert Smolinski received a year’s credit from the University of Minnesota for courses taken while in Crossville.77

The goal of the Special Projects Division was to present prisoners with a positive view of American democracy, without giving in to total indoctrination, a tactic that was outlawed by the Geneva Convention.78 The project’s leaders organized a camp in New York called “The Factory,” where a staff of German POWs conducted surveys, selected films and radio programs, and produced a pro-democracy newspaper, Der Ruf.79 The SPD also created special training programs, known as Projects II and III, for the training of future civil servants and police officers, respectively.80 When the war ended and the government set a mid-1946 deadline on the release of all POWs, the Special Projects Division initiated the “Six-Day Bicycle Race,” a crash course in American democracy, in a last-ditch effort to turn the German prisoners from totalitarianism.81

The effectiveness of this program, however, has frequently been called into question. In The Barbed Wire College, Ron Robin lists a number of reasons for skepticism about the program. First, he says, the program’s directors, who were mostly scholars with liberal-arts backgrounds, attempted to apply an educational format completely foreign to products of the authoritarian German school system. Second, the German members of the Special Projects Division tended to be “alienated intelligentsia” who did not accurately represent the POW population. Third, prisoners viewed the content of Der Ruf as being too intellectual, and therefore it failed to capture the average German POW’s interest.82

Robin also suggests that, even if such flaws had not been a factor, the education program may not have been necessary. The political climate of a destroyed Germany, he says, would already be inhospitable to Nazism. Edwin Pelz, a German POW, also felt that the program was unnecessary, because observations of life in American had already changed prisoners’ minds before the reeducation program took place.83

The end results of the program support the perception of its effects as limited at best. In a poll given to departing prisoners, a majority did claim to support democratic ideas, but 29 percent of the younger soldiers said they would fight the same war again, and a slight majority continued to blame Germany’s problems on the Jews. Furthermore, in a collection of oral histories of POWs by Frederick Doyle, none of the prisoners interviewed recall the existence of Der Ruf, let alone being impressed by it.84 If ideological changes did take place within the POW population, they were probably not a result of the reeducation programs.

Release and Repatriation

The Geneva Convention requires that “repatriation of prisoners shall be effected as soon as possible after the conclusion of peace.”85 However, there were several delays in the departure of the German POWs from the United States. Because many American soldiers were still overseas, the Secretary of Agriculture requested an extension of POW labor contracts to fill the persistent labor shortage. More extensions followed, until President Truman finally set a deadline of June 1946 for the removal of all prisoners from the United States.86

Unfortunately, for many prisoners the next stop was not Germany. The Allied forces briefly used POW labor for reconstruction in Western Europe, despite indignation among the public and, naturally, resentment among the POWs. Even after arriving in Germany, many graduates of Projects II and II found, to their dismay, that occupation authorities knew nothing of their training for civil service and police work, and therefore they received no special consideration in the distribution of these jobs.87

On Saturday, September 29, 1945, the staff of Camp Crossville held a farewell party for Commander Harry Dudley, who received a new post at Fort Benning. That day, Camp Crossville officially became a branch camp of Camp Forrest, as decreasing numbers of prisoners necessitated a consolidation of the camp system. The last prisoners finally left Crossville on December 5, 1945, and camp authorities transferred control of the camp to the Army Engineers later that month.88

Conclusion: Fueled by Victory?

In the January 13, 1945 issue of the Saturday Evening Post, reporter Ernest Hauser presented an account of his experiences with German prisoners in Europe.89 Having emigrated from Germany to the United States before the war, Hauser won the trust of countless POWs, who shared with him their views of Nazism, America, and the war. According to Hauser, the average German soldier tended to be well-educated, and intelligent enough to realize that Germany was losing. The frequent scenes of marching and singing were only a façade, and most prisoners tended to be rather sullen in individual conversations. After all, he quipped, they were experiencing a “morning-after mood, rubbing their temples after the biggest binge in history.”90

The most striking part of the report is Hauser’s discussion of the prisoners’ general disavowal of Nazism. As one prisoner told him, “They are all shedding their Nazi ideas while things are going bad…. What’s the use of being a Nazi when you are defeated?” Adopting this point of view himself, Hauser concluded that “there is no such thing as a defeated Nazi. Perhaps the Nazi philosophy is a state of mind which has to be kept up with strong daily doses of victory.” Were the war to shift in the Germans’ favor, “most of [the prisoners] would again be supermen with wings.”91

There is quite a bit of evidence in the Crossville experience to support this view, such as the POWs’ reaction to war news. Prisoners rushed to the front gates to receive the latest reports from arriving prisoners, as if their lives depended on the frantic search for good news.92 Indeed, Hans Albertson remembers that, with word of initial German gains at the “Bulge” in December 1944, camp morale “turned around 100%,” and “many wise guys said, that they had told us so--all the time!”93 Underneath a gradual acceptance of defeat, some clearly continued to hope for victory.

Another example is Gerhard Hennes’s description of officers’ attitudes in early 1945. For Hennes, when the war situation was at its worst, “the unspoken order of the day for us was solidarity one with another [sic].” The prisoners banded together “as if integrity among ourselves assured survival and still made life worthwhile.”94 Even though he was becoming disheartened himself, Hennes expressed disdain for Gilner, an officer who became openly pessimistic about the war effort and who was suspected of collaboration with the guards. Shocked and disgusted by this behavior, “most of [the officers] saw--and avoided--Gilner as a traitor.”95 To begin to nurse doubts about the German war effort was acceptable, as long as one held on to the remote possibility of victory. To completely abandon the war effort, however, was intolerable.

While POW morale could thus recover fairly easily at such a late point in the war, it shattered completely at the news of Hitler’s death. According to Hennes, throughout both good and bad news, soldiers had “clung to faith in the Führer.” With their leader’s death, reality seemed to have been overturned: Hennes himself was “numb for days.”96 Albertson’s “wise guys” were now left to reflect on their country’s failed adventure.

As prisoners struggled to digest the implications of the war’s end, camp authorities herded them into movie houses, where they were to receive yet another shock. The Provost Marshal General had arranged for German POWs to view footage from the concentration camps in Europe.97 Just as German civilians had been forced to survey the camps firsthand, now the distant prisoners watched in horror as images of industrialized killing flashed before their eyes. Albertson recalls feeling “confused and doubtful,” unable to grasp the idea that such crimes could be committed by “human beings, not to mention my own countrymen.”98 Similarly, Hennes remembers how the audience “stared in silence, struggling but unable to believe what we Germans had done to Jews, gypsies, prisoners-of-war and many others deemed inferior or expendable.”99 Based on these accounts, then, one gets the impression that news of the Holocaust caught most German POWs completely by surprise.

However, perhaps the shock was less an indication of previous ignorance, and more the result of the overturning of the Nazi “reality,” as previously mentioned. Both Albertson and Hennes admit to having heard of the camps. While Albertson knew that the camps housed “criminals, social misfits, communists, homosexuals and political enemies,” he adds, “we never had heard anything about bad or inhumane treatment in those institutions.”100 Hennes, too, remembers hearing that the camps were for “enemies of the people.” He also recalls his disgust at the attacks on Jewish families during the Kristallnacht of November 1938, and “had seen how some POWs were starved to death in Baumholder in the winter of 1941--and done nothing about it, whatever my qualms.” However, he says, “I had no idea of the extent and ferocity of murdering innocent people.”101 Knowledge of such events seems to contradict the assertion that he did not understand the Nazis’ criminal potential.

The reality may be that soldiers operating within Nazi Germany’s Machiavellian reality did not stop to consider the implications of such policies. Such is the nature of the totalitarian regime. In the words of Hannah Arendt, a society like Nazi Germany lacks that structure of consequence and responsibility without which reality remains for us a mass of incomprehensible data. The result is that a place has been established where men can be tortured and slaughtered, and yet neither the tormentors nor the tormented, nor least of all the outsider, can be aware that what is happening is anything more than a cruel game or an absurd dream.102

The POWs’ shock was as real as that of those who were truly unaware of the concentration camps, but their shock stemmed from a different cause. After Hitler’s death, their false reality begin to deteriorate, and only then could prisoners view the camps in terms of common morality. This awakening from the Nazi value system explains Hennes’s self-perceived transformation “from being a hero to being a villain.” The gradual interposition of morality “came slowly, quietly and irrepressibly during the next three or four years until it became part of my conscience, part of my very self.”103 The prisoners’ knowledge had not changed, but simply their perception. The biggest binge in history carried quite a hangover, indeed.

As is apparent from events after 1945, military defeat assured the destruction of Nazism, regardless of problems with American camp conditions or reeducation. Returning to a destroyed country, repatriated Germans did not remember “coddling” as proof that a “third try” would succeed. Nor did the ineffective reeducation program result in persistent Nazism: after the war, many of the die-hard Nazi survivors learned to keep a low profile.104 Furthermore, despite reeducation’s flaws, many prisoners still returned home with a favorable impression of American society. Nowhere is this more evident than in the fact that that many of them, including Gerhard Hennes and Hans Albert Smolinski Albertson, moved to America after the war.

The final legacy of Camp Crossville, like the legacy of the nationwide system, is thus one of goodwill, rather than malevolence. American camp authorities’ adherence to international law and common decency is especially significant in that it endured in the face of terrible wrongs in other camps. Indeed, the POW experience in America deserves a place in the public memory, because it provides a refreshing contrast with the many dark episodes of the Second World War.

Works Cited

Primary Sources

Albertson, Hans Albert Smolinski. My Memories of the Prisoner of War Camp in Crossville, Tennessee. Unpublished manuscript. March 8, 1993. Special Collections Library, University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

“Anger at Nazi Atrocities is Rising but U.S. Treats Prisoners Fairly.” Newsweek (May 7, 1945), 58.

“Are We Coddling Italian Prisoners?” Saturday Evening Post (March 3, 1945), 18+.

Aytes, Earlene. Oral History Interview by Charles W. Johnson. Special Collections Library, University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

“Behind the Wire.” Time Magazine (June 21, 1943), 67.

Cooper, Herston. Crossville: How Did We Treat Our POWs? 1981 reprint of manuscript. Special Collections Library, University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Doyle, Frederick. German Prisoners of War in the Southwest United States During World War II: An Oral History. Unpublished Dissertation, University of Denver, 1978.

“Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (27 July 1929),” in Vance, Jonathan, ed. Encyclopedia of Prisoners of War and Internment. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2000.

“German Atrocities Raise Question: Are Nazi POW’s ‘Coddled’ Here?” Newsweek (May 7, 1945), 60.

Hauser, Ernest O. “German Prisoners Talk Your Ears Off.” Saturday Evening Post (January 13, 1945), 12-13+; (January 20, 1945), 20+.

Hennes, Gerhard. The Barbed Wire: POW in the USA. Unpublished manuscript. 1985. Archives, Tennessee Technological University.

Hennes, Gerhard. Oral History Interview. Tennessee Technological University.

Hoover, J. Edgar. “Enemies at Large.” American Magazine (April 1944), 17, 97, 99-100.

Margulies, Newton L. “Proper Treatment of War Prisoners.” Vital Speeches of the Day 11 (May 15, 1945), 477-80.

“Pampered Italians?” Newsweek (August 28, 1944), 40.

Pelz, Edwin. “A German Prisoner of War in the South: The Memoir of Edwin Pelz.” Edited by William Shea. Arkansas Historical Quarterly 44:1 (1985), 42-55.

Powers, James. “The German Prisoner Muddle.” Readers Digest (November 1944), 42-44.

“Prisoners of War.” Life (January 31, 1944), 5-6.

U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Military Affairs. Report No. 728: Investigations of the National War Effort. Report prepared by Andrew J. May. 79th Cong., 1st sess., 1945.

U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Military Affairs. Report No. 1992: Investigations of the National War Effort. Report prepared by Andrew J. May. 78th Cong., 2d Sess., 1944.


Secondary Sources

Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. 1951. Reprinted. San Diego: Harcourt, 1994.

“Barbed Wire in the Scrub Oaks.” Tennessean Magazine (April 14, 1968), 6-7.

Dickinson, W. Calvin. “Camp Crossville, 1942-1945.” The Journal of East Tennessee History 68, (1996), 31-40.

Gansberg, Judith. Stalag: USA. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited, 1977.

Keefer, Louis E. Italian Prisoners of War in America, 1942-1946: Captives or Allies? New York: Praeger, 1992.

Koop, Allen. Stark Decency: German Prisoners of War in a New England Village. Hanover: University Press of New England, 1988.

Krammer, Arnold. Hitler’s Last Soldier in America. New York: Stein & Day, 1985.

Krammer, Arnold. Nazi Prisoners of War in America. Lanham, MD: Scarborough House, 1979. Reprinted 1996.

Lewis, George, and John Mewha. History of Prisoner of War Utilization by the United States Army, 1776-1945. Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-213, June 1955.

Moore, John Hammond. The Faustball Tunnel: German POWs in America and Their Great Escape. New York: Random House, 1978.

Powell, Allan Kent. Splinters of a Nation: German Prisoners of War in Utah. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1989.

Robin, Ron. The Barbed Wire College: Reeducating German POWs in the United States During World War II. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.


Government Documents

(All documents are from the National Archives.)

Anonymous Letter. RG 389, Entry 459A, Box 1612.

Anonymous Letter to Commanding Officer, Camp Crossville, December 1944. RG 389, Entry 459A, Box 1612.

Correspondence between Congressman Lindley Beckworth and Colonel Francis Howard. RG 389, Entry 451, Box 1299.

“Extract” from State Department Report. RG 389, Entry 459A, Box 1612.

“Field Service Report on Visit to Prisoner of War, Crossville, Tennessee.” RG 389, Entry 459A, Box 1612.

“Gist of the Address on September 1, 1943 by F. Werner.” RG 389, Entry 461, Box 2478.

Letter from Harry Dudley to the Provost Marshal General, January 11, 1944. RG 389, Entry 451, Box 1293.

“Request for Transfer of Prisoner of War.” RG 389, Entry 461, Box 2478.

Semimonthly Labor Reports at Crossville. RG 389, Entry 361, Box 2493.

Statement to Camp Commander, Crossville, January 3, 1945. RG 389, Entry 452, Box 1394.

“Transfer of German PW.” RG 389, Entry 361, Box 2478.

“Violent Deaths of, and Injuries to, Prisoners of War.” RG 389, Entry 451, Box 1338. 



Crossville Chronicle: April 9, 1942; April 23, 1942; June 29, 1942; July 2, 1942; August 6, 1942; December 3, 1942; October 28, 1943; February 24, 1944; March 9, 1944; October 12, 1944; August 30, 1945; October 11, 1945; December 13, 1945.

Knoxville News-Sentinel: October 29, 1943.

Nashville Tennessean: October 29, 1943; October 30, 1943.

New York Times: February 14, 1945; April 23, 1945.



1 While Crossville originally held POWs from both countries, authorities transferred the Italian prisoners to other camps in August 1943. “Barbed Wire in the Scrub Oaks,” Nasvhille Tennessean Magazine (April 14, 1968), 6.


2 RG 389, National Archives.


3 Judith Gansberg, Stalag USA: the Remarkable Story of German POWs in America (New York, 1977); Arnold Krammer, Nazi Prisoners of War in America (Lanham, 1979).


4 Allen Koop, Stark Decency: German Prisoners of War in a New England Village (Hanover, 1988), 4-5.


5 Albertson’s memoir and the oral history with Aytes can be found in the Special Collections Library at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Hennes’s memoir is in the Tennessee Technological University Archives. The oral history interview of Hennes was conducted by Todd Jarrell of Tennessee Technological University. Copies of Cooper’s work can be found in both locations and at the Crossville public library.


6 George Lewis and John Mewha, History of Prisoner of War Utilization by the United States Army, 1776-1945 (Army Department, 1955), 57.


7 Krammer 2.


8 There were also many smaller “branch camps” tied to these larger camps, whose purpose was to disperse POW labor in agricultural areas. House Military Affairs Committee, “House Report 728: Investigations of the National War Effort,” prepared by Andrew May, 79th Cong., 1st Sess., 1945, 7.


9 Camp Campbell was in Kentucky, but it extended into Montgomery County, TN. House Military Affairs Committee, “House Report 1992: Investigations of the National War Effort,” prepared by Andrew May, 79th Cong., 2nd Sess., 1944, 18; Krammer 28; W. Calvin Dickinson, “Camp Crossville, 1942-1945,” Journal of East Tennessee History 68 (1996), 31.


10 Cooper, 28.


11 Cumberland County ranked fourth in the state in the 4th Bond Drive, raising over $481,000. Crossville Chronicle, (March 9, 1944), 1.


12 Crossville Chronicle, April 9, 1942; June 29, 1942; July 2, 1942; August 6, 1942.


13 Crossville Chronicle April 9; 23, 1942; Dickinson, 32.


14 “Behind the Wire.” Time (June 21, 1943), 64; Cooper, 33-4.


15 Congressional Report 1992, 10.


16 Albertson 2.


17 Hennes, 37; Albertson, 2.


18 Hennes remembers being awakened by a bell outside the dining hall, while Albertson remembers a German officer blowing a whistle. Oral History with Gerhard Hennes, 19; Albertson 3.


19 Albertson, 3; Hennes, 40.


20 “Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (27 July 1929),” Jonathan F. Vance, ed., Encyclopedia of Prisoners of War and Internment (Santa Barbara, 2000) 364-375.


21 Lewis, 77-8; 120; Cooper 56.


22 Lewis, 70; 146-7.


23 “Barbed Wire in the Scrub Oaks,” 7.


24 Crossville Chronicle 10-12-44, 4.


25 Crossville Chronicle 8-30-45, 1.


26 Albertson 22-3.


27 Hennes, 91.


28 Lewis, 171; 264; Semimonthly reports of labor, Camp Crossville. Record Group 389, Entry 361, Box 2493, National Archives.


29 Allan Kent Powell, Splinters of a Nation: German Prisoners of War in Utah (Salt Lake City, 1989), 223-5.


30 Cooper 132-136; Powell, 67. Strangely, the PMGO record collection has no report on this incident, despite an abundance of reports of incidents at other camps. On a list of POW injuries and deaths, the incident does appear, remarking that he “attacked stockade commander … when a guard intervened--von Graef sustaining an injury to his abdomen from which he died.” “Violent Deaths,” RG 389, Entry 451, Box 1338, File 3. National Archives.


31 Cooper, 140; Oral History Interview with Earlene Aytes, 10-11.


32 Hennes, 38.


33 Albertson 7; During the war, Cumberland was a dry county. Dickinson, 36.


34 Koop, 60.


35 Albertson 23.


36 Cooper, 78-80; “Behind the Wire,” 67.


37 Frederick Doyle, “German Prisoners of War in the Southwest United Stated during WWII: An Oral History” (Ph.D Diss., University of Denver, 1979), 157; Edwin Pelz, ed. by William Shea, “A German Prisoner of War in the South: The Memoir of Edwin Pelz,” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 44:1 (1985), 45; Louis Keefer, Italian Prisoners of War in America, 1942-1946 (New York, 1992), 45; 104-5.


38 “German Atrocities Raise Question: Are Nazi POW’s ‘Coddled’ Here?” Newsweek (May 7, 1945), 58.


39 “Are We Coddling Italian Prisoners?” Saturday Evening Post (March 3, 1945), 18.


40 “Pampered Italians?” Newsweek (August 28, 1944), 40.


41 “Barbed Wire in the Scrub Oaks,” 7.


42 “Are We Coddling,” 18.


43 Correspondence between Congressman Lindley Beckworth and Colonel Francis Howard. Record Group 389, Entry 451, Box 1299. National Archives.


44 House Report 1992, 13.


45 House Report 1992, 20; 29.


46 Cooper, 29.


47 New York Times (February 14, 1945), 4.


48 “Anger at Nazi Atrocities is Rising but U.S. Treats Prisoners Fairly,” Newsweek 5-7-45.


49 Newton Margulies, “Proper Treatment of War Prisoners,” Vital Speeches of the Day 11 (May 15, 1945), 478.


50 House Committee Report 728, 13.


51 Margulies, 478-9.


52 House Committee Report 728, 8.


53 James Powers, “The German Prisoner Muddle,” Reader’s Digest (November 1944), 42; Doyle, 68.


54 “Barbed Wire in the Scrub Oaks,” 6.


55 No escapees in America came close to returning to German, although a few did remain undetected in the United States. For the story of the last escapee’s capture, which took place in 1984, see Arnold Krammer, Hitler’s Last Soldier in America (New York, 1985).


56 J. Edgar Hoover, “Enemies at Large,” American Magazine (April 1944), 17; 97-100; The prisoner is quoted in John Hammond Moore, The Faustball Tunnel (New York, 1978), 243.


57 Hoover, “Enemies at Large,” 97; 100.


58 Margulies, 479.


59 Moore, 206.


60 “Prisoners of War,” Life (January 31, 1944), 5-6.


61 Oral History Interview with Earlene Aytes, 4.


62 Crossville Chronicle, (October 28, 1943), 1; (February 24, 1944), 1; Knoxville News-Sentinel (October 29, 1943), 12; Nashville Tennessee (October 29, 1943), 1; (October 30, 1943), 1.


63 Moore, 4; 44; Crossville Chronicle (December 3, 1942), 1.


64 Cooper, 43-4.


65 Letter from Harry Dudley to the Provost Marshal General, January 11, 1944. RG 389, Entry 451, Box 1293. National Archives.


66 Moore, 62; “Barbed Wire in the Scrub Oaks,” 7; Requests for Transfer of Prisoner of War, RG 389, Entry 461, Box 2478. National Archives.


67 “Gist of the Address on Sept. 1, 1943 by F. Werner” and “Transfer of German PW.” RG 389, Entry 461, Box 2478. National Archives.


68 Anonymous letter to “Commanding Officer, Camp Crossville,” December 1944. RG 389, Entry 459A, Box 1612. National Archives.


69 “Field Service Report on Visit to Prisoner of War Camp, Crossville, Tennessee” and “Extract” from a State Department report. RG 389, Entry 459A, Box 1612. National Archives.


70 Albertson, 11


71 Statement to the Commander of Camp Crossville, January 3, 1945. RG 389, Entry 452, Box 1394. National Archives.


72 Pelz, 46; “Violent Deaths of, and Injuries to, Prisoners of War.” RG 389, Entry 451, Box 1338. National Archives.


73 Anonymous letter. RG 389, Entry 459A, Box 1612. National Archives.


74 Krammer, 165; Powers, 43.


75 New York Times (April 23, 1945), 3.


76 Camp Stark, New Hampshire, is one example of a self-started program. See Koop, 91.


77 Albertson, 17; Oral History with Gerhard Hennes, 6.


78 Ron Robin, The Barbed Wire College (Princeton, 1995), 9.


79 While The Factory was originally in New York, in October 1944 it was moved to Fort Philip Kearney in Rhode Island. Krammer, 200-202.


80 Robin, 134.


81 Krammer, 221-2.


82 Robin, 57; 68.


83 Robin, 176; Pelz, 52.


84 Robin, 162-3; Doyle.


85 Vance, 373.


86 Lewis and Mewha, 173.


87 Krammer, 248-9; Robin, 168.


88 Crossville Chronicle (October 11, 1945), 2; (December 13, 1945), 1.


89 Ernest Hauser, “German Prisoners Talk Your Ears Off.” The Saturday Evening Post v.217, January 13, 1945. The article was the beginning of a two-part report, whose second installment appeared on January 20.


90 Hauser, 61.


91 Hauser, January 13, 1945), 64; (January 20, 1945), 105.


92 Albertson, 20-1.


93 Albertson, 30.


94 Hennes, 85-6.


95 Hennes, 56.


96 Hennes, 85; 87.


97 “Anger at Nazi Atrocities,” 58.


98 Albertson, 34.


99 Hennes, 87.


100 Albertson, 34.


101 Hennes, 88.


102 Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (Reprint San Diego, 1997), 445-6.


103 Hennes, 88.


104 As late as 1975, when an author contacted Captain Wattenberg to interview him about his role in the escape at Papago Park, Wattenberg declined for “well weighed reasons.” Moore, 247-8. 

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