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Payments to Axis POWs


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During WWII the US used POWs in camps in the US for labor. The POWs in the camps near where I live in Wisconsin worked picking fruit in orchards. POWs were paid 80 cents per day for their labor. The rate was the equivalent of what a private made in the US military. POWs used the money they earned to buy items in camp canteens. When the war was over the US military paid the POWs the amounts remaining in their accounts by military payment order.

 

This is a military payment order payable to a German POW. The payment orders could only be cashed by finance officers outside the US.

 

germanpow.jpg

 

This is the type of chit that was used in the canteens.

 

Meade5.jpg

 

 

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I had no idea that this was done. That was really nice of the Germans to do the same for our boys. Oh wait...interesting artifacts regardless.

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Explains why some P.O.W's stayed in America after the war or came back as immigrants. Thanks, Eric

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Similar chits were used in US run internment camps.

 

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After the Italians surrendered, their personnel were no longer POWs but remained in camps in the US and performed labor in Italian Service Units.

 

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Lettow---

 

Any chance you have a canteen coupon from the German POW camp at Clinton, Mississippi? Been looking for one for a LONG time!

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Lettow---

 

Any chance you have a canteen coupon from the German POW camp at Clinton, Mississippi? Been looking for one for a LONG time!

 

Neither Lance Campbell's book on POW money nor Schwan-Boling's WWII Remembered have a listing for canteen coupons from Camp Clinton. Both of these sources are almost 20 years old. David Frank's website on WWII camp money also does not have a listing for a coupon from this camp.

 

Since these sources are based on observed examples, it would appear no one else has found one yet either. Do not despair, however, as new pieces are still being discovered. In the last year chits surfaced from Clarinda, IA and Excursion Inlet, AK.

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The funds might not be just from camp labor, but from what they were picked up with. As soon as captured, any money found on them (in theory) was confiscated so it could not be used as bribes) and entered into his account. So it could well be he had some of that money in Francs or whatever on him (although I suspect having US dollars on him might not be a good idea). How they managed to figure out what all manner of various money a German solder could have on him is beyond me.

 

This is all very cool stuff. Be interesting to find the dump of a former POW camp and dig it.

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Have any info on a pow camp in louisiana? My grandma remembers german prisoners in a makeshift camp in her town? Ive never found any info.

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I have the complete personnel file for one of the German NCOs held at Camp Clinton. Here are a few items related to pay...

 

 

Another example of a repatriation check...

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Daily work record...

post-211-0-29548800-1381757731.jpg

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Amazing! The Germans and Russian's starved and killed their POWs. The Brits treated theirs better but I am sure did not pay them. What does America do? We fed and housed them better than when they were home and also paid them for their work. That speaks to the character of America!

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This is why the majority of German POWs returning home went there with a VERY HIGH opinion of American and helped bridge the gap between us and vanquished Germany. While yes we are nice guys,, and we did get something out of it (cheap labor on farms and such), it was a major psychological and political victory for us. Many, Many POWs came back to the states to states to live afterwards, and those that stayed in Germany were quite strongly very pro American.

 

but then, the Geneva convention specifies paying POWs for labor.

 

My mom worked at the PX at Camp Sheridan Ill, and they had a "little old German" POW who did janitorial work there. One day she said hello to him out of politeness and was scolded for talked to him (!) but in other places they were treated quite well. She also recalled that the MPs checked back seats and trunks on cars leaving the post specifically as they had POWs there.

 

What's even more amazing is that every single German POW sent to the US has been accounted for. One got back to Germany via mexico, The last "missing" man finally turned himself in in 1985 (!) living in America Quietly. See book ''Hitler's Last Soldier in America,'' by Gaertner, and the main book on the subject (that got the guy to turn himself in) Nazi Prisoners of War in America by Arnold Krammer

 

then read the book on Allied POWs in German - 'The Last Escape.' Mind you, German logistics had pretty much broken down by then. All three books highly recommended

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  • 4 weeks later...

My Grandfather was too old to fight in WWII but as a road-builder in Manitoba, Canada, he was deemed to be important to the war effort for these skills and therefore built runways for the RCAF flight training schools. When POW's started arriving in Canada, there were several camps set up all through the prairies and some were run as "work" camps. My grandfather was assigned a large number of German POW's to help him build roads through some very tough terrain in northern Manitoba. They were mainly Kriegsmarine officers, and primarily from U-Boats. Although I'm not sure they were paid, I know from my Mom who lived in the staff compound with my grandparents, that the prisoners were very well treated, fed and clothed and very very glad to be out of the war. Many were entrusted to run errands into town and have other responsibilities that you wouldn't normally expect a POW to have.

 

The ranking German officer became very good friends with my grandfather and maintained contact with him after his return to Germany after the war. I have some letters written by him asking my grandparents if they could assist him and his family with some staple items that they just could not get in Germany during the occupation years, simple things like toothpaste, soap, powdered milk etc. Of course my family sent what they could to help out.

 

Reading the letters is very heartwarming and heart wrenching at the same time. The end result was that this former U-boat commander eventually emigrated back to Canada in the '50s and became a very successful businessman in Toronto from what I gathered.

 

I understand he may still be alive and I've been trying to track him down since I found these letters at my moms house last year.

 

Anyway, that's my POW story from the Canadian perspective.

 

Rick

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