Win Our War with Butter and Beefsteaks”
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.
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.
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
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
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.
the POW Program
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Escapes, and True Defiance
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Fueled by Victory?
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ron. The Barbed Wire College: Reeducating German POWs in the United
States During World War II. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.
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.
Deaths of, and Injuries to, Prisoners of War.” RG 389, Entry 451, Box
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.
York Times: February 14, 1945; April 23, 1945.
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,
RG 389, National Archives.
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).
Allen Koop, Stark Decency: German Prisoners of War in a New England
Village (Hanover, 1988), 4-5.
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.
George Lewis and John Mewha, History of Prisoner of War Utilization by
the United States Army, 1776-1945 (Army Department, 1955), 57.
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.
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.
Cumberland County ranked fourth in the state in the 4th Bond
Drive, raising over $481,000. Crossville Chronicle, (March 9, 1944),
Crossville Chronicle, April 9, 1942; June 29, 1942; July 2, 1942;
August 6, 1942.
Crossville Chronicle April 9; 23, 1942; Dickinson, 32.
“Behind the Wire.” Time (June 21, 1943), 64; Cooper, 33-4.
Congressional Report 1992, 10.
Hennes, 37; Albertson, 2.
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.
Albertson, 3; Hennes, 40.
“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.
Lewis, 77-8; 120; Cooper 56.
Lewis, 70; 146-7.
“Barbed Wire in the Scrub Oaks,” 7.
Crossville Chronicle 10-12-44, 4.
Crossville Chronicle 8-30-45, 1.
Lewis, 171; 264; Semimonthly reports of labor, Camp Crossville. Record Group
389, Entry 361, Box 2493, National Archives.
Allan Kent Powell, Splinters of a Nation: German Prisoners of War in Utah
(Salt Lake City, 1989), 223-5.
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
Cooper, 140; Oral History Interview with Earlene Aytes, 10-11.
Albertson 7; During the war, Cumberland was a dry county. Dickinson, 36.
Cooper, 78-80; “Behind the Wire,” 67.
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.
“German Atrocities Raise Question: Are Nazi POW’s ‘Coddled’ Here?”
Newsweek (May 7, 1945), 58.
“Are We Coddling Italian Prisoners?” Saturday Evening Post (March
3, 1945), 18.
“Pampered Italians?” Newsweek (August 28, 1944), 40.
“Barbed Wire in the Scrub Oaks,” 7.
“Are We Coddling,” 18.
Correspondence between Congressman Lindley Beckworth and Colonel Francis
Howard. Record Group 389, Entry 451, Box 1299. National Archives.
House Report 1992, 13.
House Report 1992, 20; 29.
New York Times (February 14, 1945), 4.
“Anger at Nazi Atrocities is Rising but U.S. Treats Prisoners Fairly,” Newsweek
Newton Margulies, “Proper Treatment of War Prisoners,” Vital Speeches
of the Day 11 (May 15, 1945), 478.
House Committee Report 728, 13.
House Committee Report 728, 8.
James Powers, “The German Prisoner Muddle,” Reader’s Digest
(November 1944), 42; Doyle, 68.
“Barbed Wire in the Scrub Oaks,” 6.
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).
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.
Hoover, “Enemies at Large,” 97; 100.
“Prisoners of War,” Life (January 31, 1944), 5-6.
Oral History Interview with Earlene Aytes, 4.
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.
Moore, 4; 44; Crossville Chronicle (December 3, 1942), 1.
Letter from Harry Dudley to the Provost Marshal General, January 11, 1944.
RG 389, Entry 451, Box 1293. National Archives.
Moore, 62; “Barbed Wire in the Scrub Oaks,” 7; Requests for Transfer of
Prisoner of War, RG 389, Entry 461, Box 2478. National Archives.
“Gist of the Address on Sept. 1, 1943 by F. Werner” and “Transfer of
German PW.” RG 389, Entry 461, Box 2478. National Archives.
Anonymous letter to “Commanding Officer, Camp Crossville,” December
1944. RG 389, Entry 459A, Box 1612. National Archives.
“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.
Statement to the Commander of Camp Crossville, January 3, 1945. RG 389,
Entry 452, Box 1394. National Archives.
Pelz, 46; “Violent Deaths of, and Injuries to, Prisoners of War.” RG
389, Entry 451, Box 1338. National Archives.
Anonymous letter. RG 389, Entry 459A, Box 1612. National Archives.
Krammer, 165; Powers, 43.
New York Times (April 23, 1945), 3.
Camp Stark, New Hampshire, is one example of a self-started program. See
Albertson, 17; Oral History with Gerhard Hennes, 6.
Ron Robin, The Barbed Wire College (Princeton, 1995), 9.
While The Factory was originally in New York, in October 1944 it was moved
to Fort Philip Kearney in Rhode Island. Krammer, 200-202.
Robin, 57; 68.
Robin, 176; Pelz, 52.
Robin, 162-3; Doyle.
Lewis and Mewha, 173.
Krammer, 248-9; Robin, 168.
Crossville Chronicle (October 11, 1945), 2; (December 13, 1945), 1.
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.
Hauser, January 13, 1945), 64; (January 20, 1945), 105.
Hennes, 85; 87.
“Anger at Nazi Atrocities,” 58.
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (Reprint San Diego,
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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