Florida housed thousands of German POWs during World War II

On June 6, 1944, a Miami newspaper reporter took a ride up the south shore of Lake Okeechobee. Overnight, the long-anticipated and historic invasion of Europe had begun. Editors wanted local reaction from Germans. German Germans. Some were not too far away.

In May 1943, Allied forces had begun shipping to the United States Germans captured in combat. More than 9,000 went to 22 Florida camps, many at or near military bases. State headquarters was at North Florida’s Camp Blanding, also an active POW facility. It now is a National Guard training base.

North Florida’s Camp Blanding near Starke became the fourth most populous city in Florida during World War II. More than 9,000 German prisoners of war went to 22 Florida camps, many at or near military bases. State headquarters was at Camp Blanding, also an active POW facility.

German POWs were confident about war effort in Europe

At Liberty Point, Germans who were put to work performing the backbreaking work of planting and harvesting sugar cane told the reporter that, yes, they had heard of the invasion, on radios. They said it all was propaganda. Germany, they said, surely would prevail.

Forgotten history:Milton’s German Prisoner Of War Camp

U-Boat War:Germany brought WWII to the Florida coast in 1942

Florida in World War II:After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Florida became a vital resource to the nation

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