For those German POWs held in American camps, control by Nazi officers was often done via threats to them that reprisals would be taken against their families in Germany if they did not toe the mark. Men who were non-Nazi or anti-Nazi also were told they would pay for their noncompliance with their lives once they returned to Germany after the end of the war.
“Show that you are a Nazi,” an official communique reminded them. “And if any of your comrades should succumb to Jewish -Bolshevik influences, set him a good example.” This communique, “How to behave as a prisoner of war,” was distributed to all German POWs from Berlin.
One story related in Arnold Krammer’s book, Nazi Prisoners of War in America, is that a German military chaplain spoke to assembled prisoners during Easter Mass and closed his sermon with the words, “Let us pray for our poor suffering Fatherland. May peace come quickly.” He was booed and even struck by the enraged men who were nearest to him. To the men, he was a defeatist and thus considered a traitor.
Next time: Journalist Quentin Reynolds Writes about the Experiment in Democracy
Copyright, Geraldine Birch. All rights reserved.