Untold high winds, multiple tornadoes and thousands of acres of tobacco have been in, on, and around this amazing Tobacco Barn, it still stands today as a testament to its engineering, massive beams, and fortitude of the men who built it. From Wikipedia: “Members of the German military were interned as prisoners of war in the United States during World War I and World War II. In all, 425,000 German prisoners lived in 700 camps throughout the United States during World War II.”
We welcome you to visit one of the historic structures built by these brave men who were caught up in the frenzy of war between America, its allies, and Nazi Germany. World War II changed the face of Europe, and your time here will change you forever, this fascinating historical barn was built by “prisoners at gun point” guarded by “men on horse back”, the workers received “$1.00 per day each…as Mr. Sam told the story.
“The Geneva Convention’s mandate of equal treatment for prisoners also meant they were paid American military wages. They could work on farms or elsewhere only if they were also paid for their labor, and officers could not be compelled to work. As the United States sent millions of soldiers overseas, the resulting shortage of labor eventually meant that German POWs worked toward the Allied war effort by helping out in canneries, mills, farms, and other places deemed a minimal security risk.”
“A total of 2,222 German POWs escaped from their camps. Most were recaptured within a day. The US government could not account for seven prisoners when they were repatriated. Georg Gärtner, who escaped from a POW camp in Deming, New Mexico on September 21, 1945 to avoid being repatriated to Silesia, occupied by the Soviet Union, remained at large until 1985. After the war, the other few escaped prisoners were recaptured or surrendered. After Kurt Rossmeisl—who had lived in Chicago for 14 years—surrendered, Gärtner was the only remaining escapee who had not been captured. He assumed a new identity as Dennis F. Whiles and lived quietly in California, Colorado, and Hawaii before coming forward in 1985. Although wanted by the United States government for years, Gärtner was granted permission to remain and became a naturalized US citizen in 2009. He lived under his adopted name Dennis Whiles, and wrote a book about his life, Hitler’s Last Soldier in America.”