German Prisoners of War at Camp Cooke, California: Personal Accounts 1944-1946

Overview

About one-seventh of the 2.5 million German servicemen captured by U.S. forces in World War II were transferred to POW camps in the United States. There were over 600 camps located throughout the country, usually at existing military installations—-such as Camp Cooke, California, the current site of Vandenberg Air Force Base.

While the early prisoners at Camp Cooke included a number of men from the Waffen SS and other fanatical Nazi units, most of the POWs were ordinary soldiers...

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Overview

About one-seventh of the 2.5 million German servicemen captured by U.S. forces in World War II were transferred to POW camps in the United States. There were over 600 camps located throughout the country, usually at existing military installations—-such as Camp Cooke, California, the current site of Vandenberg Air Force Base.

While the early prisoners at Camp Cooke included a number of men from the Waffen SS and other fanatical Nazi units, most of the POWs were ordinary soldiers from infantry, armor and airborne divisions. These men were used in the United States to fill labor positions left vacant by wartime demands, but they also were afforded many educational and recreational opportunities. These were the cornerstones of the Army's secret program to "denazify" the POWs. Through the eyes of 14 German prisoners, this is a firsthand account of life in the POW camp at Camp Cooke and the lasting impact it had on prisoners' lives.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The personal narratives of 14 German prisoners of war housed at Camp Cooke, California, during World War II recounting the ordinary soldiers' captures, journeys to America, and the daily life and organization of the camp. Although the prisoners filled labor positions left vacant by Americans serving in Europe, the main purpose of the camp was to "denazify" the soldiers, and the interviews reflect a transformation in political consciousness as well as documenting the German POW experience in America. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786402014
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/1/1996
  • Pages: 240

Meet the Author

Jeffrey E. Geiger is the retired chief civilian historian at Vandenberg AFB. He lives in Santa Maria, California.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 From Wehrmacht to Captivity 5
2 Journey to America 24
3 The First Weeks as POWs 35
4 Organization and Management at Camp Cooke 51
5 Prisoner of War Labor Program 69
6 Everyday Life in the Camp 92
7 The Branch Camps 149
8 Auf Wiedersehen 168
9 The Aftermath: The Camps and the Men 187
App. A. Biographical Data 193
App. B. Gazetteer 195
App. C. Survey 198
Notes 203
Glossary 221
Bibliography 223
Index 227
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2000

    One of the best books on this subject.

    Geiger's book contains some of the most fascinating anecdotal material concerning the subject of prisoners of war in the U.S. during WWII.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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