Historic Markers Across South Carolina



Prisoner Of War Camp and Camouflage School



Marker ID:  
Location: On Aviation Way near Lt.Col. Hiram Mann Driveway, Walterboro, SC
County: Colleton
Coordinates: N 32° 54.998    W 080° 38.26
  32.91663333    -80.63766666
 



Text:

v During World War II over 400,000 German and Italian POWs were quartered in camps across the United States. In many cases the prisoners were used to fill vast labor shortages in production and agriculture. Their prisoner camps were small communities where they were able to shop at a canteen, put on plays and concerts, have sports matches and take courses in English. Most German POWs were not ardent Nazis. They came to appreciate the kindness they were shown in the US and carried the principals of democracy and American life back with them to post-war Germany. One hundred and fifty German POWs were housed here at Walterboro Army Air Field.

Work
Dear Mr. Sams,
Well indeed, you have guessed it, it is Fritz Mohme, former P.O.W. of the camp Walterboro, who drops you a few lines from Germany ? Please permit me to thank you again for the good treatment which I as well as my boys got on your farm, and the pleasant hours which I was privileged to spend with you. Remembering them is always a pleasant memory for me. Meanwhile I send my best regards, and remain your (sic) truly

.
FRITZ MOHME

Excerpts from a letter POW Fritz Mohme wrote to his former work supervisor Marion Sams, a Walterboro resident. Many POWs formed friendly relationships with their American work supervisors and latter wrote about their excellent treatment. Printed in the Press and Standard, January 1940.

Life in Camp
"Prisoners of war shall be quartered under conditions as favorable as those for the forces of the Detaining Power who are billeted in the same area." - Article 25, Geneva Convention
[Picture included] These former Walterboro Army Airfield barracks are similar to those POWs may have lived in at the base. In accordance with Geneva Convention the POW barracks had to be the same as the barracks provided to US soldiers at the base. - The Press and Standard, 1944

After the War
(Newspaper Clipping): German P.O.W. Writes Letter...
"I grew up knowing that my grandfather had worked with the German POWs and had alot of respect for them. And now here was this letter from one of them with such a tribute to my grandparents. He talked about how well they had treated him." - Alta Mae Marvin on the receipt of letter from former Walterboro POW Helmut Ulbricht regarding his (?) for her grandparents WR and Alta Marvin during WW II. The Press and Standard, 1945 and 1994

At least two former Walterboro POWs wrote letters to local citizens after their return to Germany. Fritz Mohme wrote of his journey home- seeing Germany devastated and his happy memories of his time in Walterboro to his former supervisor. Mr. Sams sent Mohme a pair of shoes asked for in his letter. Helmut Ulbricht wrote to the grandchildren of his former supervisors WR and Alta Marvin, and in 1994 visited Walterboro with his wife and met the Marvin family. The Press and Standard, 1945 and 1994.

Prison Camp For County... Throughout 1943 and 1944 the pages of the local paper, The Press and Standard, bore stark testimony on the increasing labor shortage on local farms and in the local pulp-wood industry. Walterboro actively sought a POW camp to help relieve the shortage and in December of 1944 a camp for 250 German prisoners of war was established in Walterboro Army Air Field. - The Press and Standard, December 1944

(Newspaper clipping) POWs were paid for their labor. A portion was reserved by the government to be payable to the prisoner when he was released and the other portion the prisoner kept and could use at the camp canteen to buy cigarettes, newspapers, food and personal items.- The Press and Standard, 1944

Helmut Ulbricht (standing) worked briefly as a waiter in the Walterboro Army Airfield´s Officer´s Mess before going to work at a local nursery run by WR Marvin and his wife Alta. Ulbricht and nine other POWs dug ditches, did irrigation work and cut trees at the nursery. Alta Marvin provided the POWs with home cooked meals.- The Press and Standard, 1944

Camouflage School
Camouflage Battalion Arrives...
Walterboro Army Airfield was also home to one of the largest camouflage schools in the United States. The art of camouflage was just starting to develop during World War II. Although the school was for all soldiers, pilots training at the base may have gone through the program to learn how to hide themselves if their plane went down in enemy territory. Today the local high school ROTC trains in the same woods of the old airfield. - The Press and Standard, 1943

Phots and more information on HMDB HMDB - Prisoner Of War Camp and Camouflage School


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HMDB - Prisoner Of War Camp and Camouflage School