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Prisoners of War


Midwest POWs

The first U.S. troops to enter WWII came from the Upper Midwest; the 34th Division also served the longest stint of active duty--611 days. In February 1943 some 1,800 mostly Iowa, but also Minnesota and Dakota soldiers fell prisoner to Rommel's men; they were marched to Tunis, flown to Naples, then shipped in box cars to Nazi Germany, where they spent two years as "Hitler's uninvited guests." Those who survived that living hell returned to America's Heartland forever changed.

German POWs

By the end of WWII some 380,000 German POWs found themselves imprisoned in the United States, in more than 650 base and branch camps in almost all of the 48 states and even the territory of Alaska. On the open prairie of the Upper Midwest and in the woods of Northern Minnesota, those at Camp Algona or its 35 branch camps eventually would experience a soul-searching confrontation with their nation's destructive, doomed experiment with fascism and global war.