Nazi POWs in the Tar Heel State
Robert D. Billinger Jr.
"Well written and sprinkled with highly interesting anecdotes, Billinger examines all aspects of the POW program in North Carolina during World War II, from the arrival of the first prisoners to the work program, escapes, reeducation, repatriation, and--an aspect often ignored by other authors--the transfer of many POWs to Great Britain, France, and Belgium after the war."--Matthias Reiss, author of "The Blacks Were Our Friends": German Prisoners of War in American Society, 1942-1946
More than 10,000 German prisoners of war were interned in eighteen camps in North Carolina during World War II. Yet apart from the guards, civilian workers, and FBI and local police who tracked escapees, most people were--and remain--unaware of their presence.
Utilizing interviews with former prisoners and their guards, Red Cross and U.S. military reports, German-language camp newspapers, local print media, letters, memoirs, and other archival sources, Robert Billinger is the first to chronicle in detail the German POW experience in North Carolina during WWII.
Billinger captures the perceptions of sixty years ago, and demonstrates how the stereotype that all Germans were Nazis evolved over time. The book is dedicated to the insights gained by many POWs, guards, and civilians: that wartime enemies could become life-long friends.
Robert D. Billinger Jr. is Ruth Horton Davis Professor of History at Wingate University.
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"A valuable contribution to the study of WWII captivity in the United States. Billinger's affection for his subject is evident in his writing, and this book will appeal to readers with an interest in North Carolina history, the experiences of POWs during WWII, and postwar German-American relations."
"Employing a narrative style and focusing on seven internees, Billinger provides an even handed description of the POW experience from arrival until release. A significant resource for those studying North Carolina history during W W II."
"This is bottom-up history at its best."
--The Journal of Southern History
"The strength of Billinger's account lies in putting a face on this vast mass of dejected humanity by weaving many personal stories of POWs into the narrative."
--The Journal of American History
"Readers interested in the local history of North Carolina should find the anecdotes interesting and very informative."