Sunday, October 25, 2:00pm
German Prisoners of War in Maine – A First Person presentation by Hank Lunn
From Foe to Friend will tell the personal story of what the experience was like to have German soldiers working on his family farm in Littleton, Aroostook County, Maine
In 1944, the U.S. Army Air Base in Houlton, Maine became the site of a Prisoner of War (POW) internment camp for German soldiers captured in North Africa and France. The POW’s could not be forced to work, but could volunteer. Those who wanted to work helped the local farmers harvest peas, pick potatoes and cut wood in the forest during winter. The prisoners were paid a dollar a day in scrip that they could spend at their post exchange for toiletries, tobacco, chocolate, even beer. College courses were offered to those who wish to study.
In the fall of 1945, my father decided to request prisoners to help with the potato harvest because the people we usually hired were not available due of the war. Another very compelling reason for asking for help was that the Germans cost the farmers very little.
As a 13 year old boy, the arrival of German soldiers, who may have killed some of our neighbors, was fearsome. My young mind was not too sure it was a good idea to have the “enemy” right here on our farm.
Hank Lunn does Living History presentations around the state. He lives in Camden, Maine.