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posted: 4/28/2014 9:16 AM

'German POW Camps of Chicago' talk set at Des Plaines Public Library

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  • These German POWS lived at Camp Pine, in Des Plaines, during World War II. They are shown eating lunch at the Mahler Farm where they worked. Also pictured are Fred Mahler, August Sell and Russell Mahler.

      These German POWS lived at Camp Pine, in Des Plaines, during World War II. They are shown eating lunch at the Mahler Farm where they worked. Also pictured are Fred Mahler, August Sell and Russell Mahler.
    Courtesy of Des Plaines History Center

 
Submitted by Des Plaines History Center

Learn about Camp Pine in Des Plaines and other Chicago area World War II German POW camps at the Coffee Talk set from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 8, at the Des Plaines Public Library, 1501 Ellinwood St., Des Plaines, Room B.

The Coffee Talk program is sponsored by the Des Plaines History Center, but will be held at the library this month to accommodate a larger audience.

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James Meierhoff, Ph.D. candidate in archaeology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will talk about his findings at Camp Pine, Camp Thornton and Camp Skokie Valley.

According to Meierhoff, "As Europe was being destroyed for the second time in 40 years, American cities and their hinterlands during World War II lay unscathed. However, the war would come home to America in the form of hundreds of thousands enemy prisoners of war. Imprisoned in almost every state in the union, interactions with these prisoners were often the only link between the war raging in Europe and the American home front."

Meierhoff explains that the story of these men, and the United States' methods of housing and caring for them, is largely forgotten amid the larger and more dramatic events that occurred from 1941-1946. He says that despite the apparent destruction and subsequent abandonment of these camps, the POW occupation surface is still intact. These camps were branch camps of the larger Fort Sheridan and comprised mostly of veterans of the African Campaign that were put to work in suburban truck farms.

Stop by to hear the stories of this significant time in history. A $3 donation is suggested.

For more information, call the History Center at (847) 391-5399.

The Des Plaines History Center gratefully acknowledges operating support from the City of Des Plaines, the Des Plaines Park District, its members, and other contributors.

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