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Nazi Prisoners of War in America Paperback – July 23, 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

During WW II, the U.S. held close to 400,000 German POWs in camps around the country; interviews with prison camp officials and POWs who became American citizens shed light on a seldom-discussed aspect of this country's history. "Krammer's valuable book breaks ground and exposes a unique side of the drama of Nazi fanaticism vs. the easygoing American way," said PW. Illustrated.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

This is no doubt the definitive history of one of the least-known segments of America's involvement in World War II. Fascinating. A notable addition to the history of that war. (The Seattle Times)

Delightful. Outstanding. (The Houston Post)

Absorbing. Krammer's valuable book breaks ground and exposes a unique side of the drama. (Publishers Weekly)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Scarborough House (July 23, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812885619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812885613
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I found Nazi Prisoners of War to be a fascinating look into the little known (and explored) history of American POW camps. This book really put a human face on the soldiers of Germany who weren't always Nazi sympathizers. I felt the author presented quite a balanced view of both the anti-Nazi prisoners and the pro-Nazi officers and enlisted men.
Of particular interest was the discussion of how the camps were run, the photographs of the prisoners and the stories of their escapes. Also, some stories were quite humorous: the story where the Americans tell the Germans to clean their barracks/common rooms and the German POWS refuse. The Americans perform a trick by telling them a high-ranking German officer would be imprisoned there to get them to comply without the use of force. This was quite clever.On the flip-side I found it disturbing that the American army officials preferred to supervise hard-core nazis in prisons because they were easier to manage, rather than anti-nazis. At times these officials encouraged nazism!
I recommend this book for a different and balanced look into the past.
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Format: Paperback
To say how interesting this book is at first I have to note how unknown this topic is. When I first began looking for the book, a person working at a book store asked me if it was fiction! Gimme a break! For instance, Santa Anita Racetrack in California was a huge POW camp during WWII. Who knew that? Anyone into American history should know about this, and if not, READ THIS BOOK. It is very easy to assume that there is no other book in existance that covers this topic any better.
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Format: Paperback
A very detailed look at German prisoners of war in America. From their lives to how the citizens and the wardepartment reacted to them are here, with countless pictures, and tables to help the reader understand what occured. This is a good THICK historical document on the way prisoners lived, worked, played, and sometimes escaped. It also covers how Americans, from civilians, government, and armed service personnel reacted to their presence. A very good look into an area that has not received a lot of attention.
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At age 55, I've finally learned something about an American experience that ended two years before I was born. About time, don't you think?

NAZI PRISONERS OF WAR IN AMERICA is a concise and (apparently) comprehensive overview, which describes the incarceration of the roughly 375,000 captured members of the German military in 500+ camps and branch camps thoughout the United States from May 1942 to July 1946. The book's eight chapters summarize the process from initial capture and dispatch westward across the Atlantic through repatriation and return to Europe. In between, author Arnold Krammer depicts the general layout of the camps, the life behind barbed wire, the work and re-education programs, the escapes, and the ideological tensions between the ardently Nazi minority and non-Nazi majority that generally resulted in internal control of a camp's inmate population by the former prisoner group. Each chapter has a 4 to 8 page photo section relevant to its topic. The 44 pages of notes, based on a 15-page bibliography, indicate a commendable and thorough level of research.

As an informative exercise about an interesting topic, I can't find fault with NAZI PRISONERS OF WAR IN AMERICA. As a work of popular history for one casually interested in the subject, it's completely satisfying in all respects.

At times, there's even humor of a sort. In the chapter "Escapes", the author relates the incident wherein three U-boat submariners fled into the hills of Tennessee, where one was subsequently shot dead by an old granny defending her water pump. When told by the local deputy sheriff whom she'd killed, she broke down saying she'd never have fired if she'd known the men were Germans. Asked who she thought the intruders were, she replied:

"I thought they wuz Yankees." Bobbie Lee would have been proud.
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This is a valuable history of how we treated WWII prisoners in our country. It revealed in detail how we were able to use the manpower so badly needed. The need to execute a plan that was satisfactory to all was carried out so well. With seemingly few incidents, the huge operation helped our economy and gave the prisoners a way of seeing how humane treatment exposes the horrific aspect of Nazism.

My only complaint is the title of this book as not all WWII prisoners were Nazis. In fact, they were mostly kept separate from the regular German army prisoners. There were many German prisoners used in the Midwest where, because of the great number of German emigrant farmers, language barriers were minimal. Also some farmers had relatives in the German army.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a historian who has done some research on the subject and I can say with confidence that this book is an excellent resource for scholars and for anyone else with an interest in history. For one thing, it is the definitive study on the experience of German POWs in America. Krammer is thorough, describing virtually every aspect of the issue and from multiple perspectives. For the layman, it is also very readable and enjoyable. It is filled with important details and fascinating anecdotes. As a former student of Prof. Krammer, I can honestly say without any exaggeration that he is a gentleman and a scholar. He knows how to write a book and this is a great example.
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