Religion was also used a means to reeducate German POWs living and working in approximately five hundred camps throughout the United States. The War Department wanted German prisoners to experience religious freedom, and what better way to do it than to provide American chaplains to the men stuck behind barbed wire.
POWs were provided with Bibles and other religious material. It was a way to teach them religious tolerance, freedom of worship, and freedom to express their views. These concepts were all an important part of teaching the prisoners about the American way of life.
As ardent Nazi officers and NCOs were segregated from the rank and file German soldiers, and with the collapse of the Third Reich, church attendance jumped dramatically. According to Nazi Prisoners of War in America by Arnold Krammer, attendance rose an average of 30 percent between October, 1944, and February, 1945.
Next time: Reeducation: A Well-Kept Secret
Read my historical novel about Camp Papago Park, The Swastika Tattoo, a German POW camp located on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona during WWII.
Copyright, Geraldine Birch. All rights reserved.