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Sat Jun 15, 2013, 04:52 PM

A Look Back • Missouri was home to enemy POWs during World War II

CHESTERFIELD • Cpl. Helmuth Levin and Private Rudolf Straussberg left notes of explanation on their bunks. They slipped past the guards at night and fled through the vegetable fields they tended.

“Returning to Germany would just be going from a Nazi dictatorship to a Russian dictatorship,” Levin wrote in German. Straussberg added an apology to his keepers for causing “the trouble of looking for us.”

Levin and Straussberg were among the 420,000 German and Italian prisoners of war who spent part of World War II under guard in the United States. About 15,000 of them were sent to 30 camps scattered across Missouri.

Most of the POWs went to large camps, including one covering 960 acres near Weingarten in Ste. Genevieve County. Others were confined in small outposts such as Hellwig Brothers Farm, near U.S. Highway 40 on the Missouri River bottomland then known as Gumbo Flats.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/look-back/555611ac-cfd9-58d5-915d-a3bdda5c1c28.html

The article includes some photos and links to additional pics.

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Reply A Look Back • Missouri was home to enemy POWs during World War II (Original post)
Sherman A1 Jun 2013 OP
Cooley Hurd Jun 2013 #1
Gin Jun 2013 #2
Sherman A1 Jun 2013 #4
Jenoch Jun 2013 #3

Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 05:00 PM

1. We had a German/Italian POW camp just north of us in Central NY...

 

Mom told me the story about when she was a teenager, she would pass the same German POW shoveling snow on one of our city streets and, because of his blonde hair and deep blue eyes, she developed a crush on him. I wish I knew what became of him.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 05:04 PM

2. Interesting....I didn't know about this

Thanks for the post.

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Response to Gin (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 05:37 PM

4. My pleasure

glad you found it of interest.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 05:16 PM

3. There were also dozens of POW camps

 

across The midwest thatheld German prisoners of war. In many cases, the prisoners were released during the day to work for area farmers. All the young men who would have been doing the work were of coirse doing their military service

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