Maine Eats--POW


German POW painting, Houlton, 1945

German POW painting, Houlton, 1945
Item 10894   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

This picture was painted by an unknown artist who was a German prisoner of war at Camp Houlton, a German POW internment camp.

It was given as a wedding gift by Walton Haase, Gunther Magdeburg and Gerhard Nowitsky, German POWs, to John D. (Don) Willard, a Camp Houlton guard, and Marion Corneil, August 31, 1945.

German prisoners picking potatoes, Houlton, 1945

German prisoners picking potatoes, Houlton, 1945
Item 13561   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

In 1944 a major part of the Houlton Army Air Base was made into Camp Houlton, a Prisoner of War (POW) internment camp.

POWs could not be forced to work, but could volunteer, which many of the German POWs at Houlton did.

They helped local farmers harvest peas, pick potatoes and do other work.

Some were not allowed to work for security reasons. Many farmers came to see the POWs who worked their fields as good laborers rather than enemy soldiers.

The prisoners were paid a dollar a day in scrip that they could spend at the post exchange, the base store, for toiletries, tobacco, chocolate, and even beer. Pictures of prisoners of war are unusual because taking them was not allowed.

POW farm workers, Houlton, 1944

POW farm workers, Houlton, 1944
Item 13567   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

In 1944 a major part of the Houlton Army Air Base was made into Camp Houlton, a Prisoner of War internment camp. POWs could not be forced to work, but could volunteer to do so.

Camp Houlton provided laborers for local farms to harvest peas, pick potatoes and other work but not all POWs were allowed to work on the farms for security reasons.

Many farmers came to see the POWs who worked their fields as good laborers rather than enemy soldiers.

German POWs on the farm, Houlton, ca. 1945

German POWs on the farm, Houlton, ca. 1945
Item 13562   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

In 1944 a major part of the Houlton Army Air Base was made into Camp Houlton, a Prisoner of War (POW) internment camp. It was a violation of the Geneva Convention to force POWs to work but they could volunteer to work.

These prisoners were part of a potato picking crew.

POWs at Camp Houlton, 1945

POWs at Camp Houlton, 1945
Item 13569   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

Camp Houlton was established in 1944 for the internment of prisoners of war (POW) to provide laborers for local farms to harvest peas, pick potatoes and other work.

German prisoners could volunteer to work on local farms for a small amount of pay.

Painting of Mont Saint Michel, ca. 1945

Painting of Mont Saint Michel, ca. 1945
Item 20702   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

This picture was painted by an unknown artist who was a German prisoner of war in Camp Houlton, a German POW internment camp from 1944 to 1946.


German barber, Camp Houlton, 1945

German barber, Camp Houlton, 1945
Item 13528   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

The barber is identified as a prisoner of war at Camp Houlton cutting the hair of a U.S. Army soldier.

Prisoners of War in the farm field, Houlton, 1945

Prisoners of War in the farm field, Houlton, 1945
Item 13568   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

Camp Houlton was established in 1944 for the internment of prisoners of war to provide laborers for local farms to harvest peas, pick potatoes and other work.

The prisoners were paid a dollar a day in scrip that they could spend at the post exchange, the base store, for toiletries, tobacco, chocolate, and even beer.

Not all POWs were allowed to work on the farms for security reasons.

Many farmers came to see the POWs who worked their fields as good laborers rather than enemy soldiers.

In this picture, the POW farm workers are posing for the picture with the farmer's wife. Pictures of POWs are unusual because photographing POWs was not allowed.

Prisoners of war picking potatoes, Houlton, 1945

Prisoners of war picking potatoes, Houlton, 1945
Item 13560   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

In 1944 a major part of the Houlton Army Air Base was made into Camp Houlton, a Prisoner of War (POW) internment camp.

Some of the prisoners at the camp volunteered to work on local farms to harvest peas, pick potatoes.

Many farmers came to see the POWs who worked their fields as good laborers rather than enemy soldiers.

Painting by German Prisoner of War, Houlton, 1945

Painting by German Prisoner of War, Houlton, 1945
Item 20209   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

Helmut Klusson, 22, was among the first prisoners of war to arrive at the Houlton POW camp, 1944, on a Canadian Pacific train. (The CP had a rail spur that ran into Houlton.) The prisoners were still in old clothes and hobnailed boots.

This picture was painted with house paint on wall board.

Prisoners of War, Houlton, 1945

Prisoners of War, Houlton, 1945
Item 13564   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

In 1944 a major part of the Houlton Army Air Base was made into Camp Houlton, a Prisoner of War (POW) internment camp.

It was a violation of the Geneva Convention to force POWs to work but they could volunteer to work. Camp Houlton provided laborers for local farms to harvest peas, pick potatoes and other work but not all POWs were allowed to work on the farms for security reasons.

The prisoners were paid a dollar a day in scrip that they could spend at the post exchange, the base store, for toiletries, tobacco, chocolate, and even beer.

Camp Houlton POWs

Camp Houlton POWs
Item 13570   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

Three Camp Houlton prisoners of war outside the hanger at Houlton Army Air Base, Houlton. The three are, from left to right, Vohn Micka, Franz Braungerman and Anton Kinstendorf.

Site of the Houlton Army Air Base

Site of the Houlton Army Air Base
Item 13526   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

In September 2003, this monument was placed on the site of the former Houlton Army Air Base. The Air Base was established in 1941 because of its proximity to Canada.

Prior to the United States entry into the war, planes were flown to Houlton Army Air Base but U.S. military pilots could not fly the planes directly into Canada, a British ally, because that would violate the official U.S. position of neutrality. Local farmers towed the planes across the border to Canada with their tractors.

In 1944 a major part of the air base was made into Camp Houlton, a Prisoner of War (POW) internment camp. The base was closed in 1946 after the prisoners were repatriated.

When the POWs returned home to Germany, conditions there were desperate. Some former POWs wrote letters to their former farm employers requesting assistance. Some farmers responded to these requests generously, establishing life long relationships.

This monument commemorates the role Houlton and Aroostook County played in World War Two and the human bonds that were created.

Prisoner of war picking potatoes, Houlton, 1945

Prisoner of war picking potatoes, Houlton, 1945
Item 13563   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

In 1944 a major part of the Houlton Army Air Base was made into Camp Houlton, a Prisoner of War (POW) internment camp. It was a violation of the Geneva Convention to force POWs to work but they could volunteer to work.

Camp Houlton provided laborers for local farms to harvest peas, pick potatoes and other work but not all POWs were allowed to work on the farms for security reasons.

Many farmers came to see the POWs who worked their fields as good laborers rather than enemy soldiers. The prisoners were paid a dollar a day in scrip that they could spend at the post exchange, the base store, for toiletries, tobacco, chocolate, and even beer.

Pictures of prisoners of war are unusual because taking them was not allowed.

U.S. Army Airfield Main Gate, Houlton

U.S. Army Airfield Main Gate, Houlton
Item 11123   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

U.S. Army Airfield Main Gate, Houlton, 1941-1944. This was also the main gate to the World War II German POW camp, Camp Houlton, 1944-1946.

Camp Houlton prisoners of war, 1945

Camp Houlton prisoners of war, 1945
Item 13559   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

Camp Houlton provided laborers -- German prisoners of war housed there -- to local farms to harvest peas, pick potatoes and do other work.

The prisoners were paid a dollar a day in scrip that they could spend at the post exchange.

Gerhard Kleindt, Houlton, ca. 1944

Gerhard Kleindt, Houlton, ca. 1944
Item 13518   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

Gerhard Kleindt was a prisoner of war at Camp Houlton from July, 1944 to March 1946.

Camp Houlton PX, 1945

Camp Houlton PX, 1945
Item 13572   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

Camp Houlton was established in 1944 for the internment of prisoners of war. Prisoners who worked were paid a dollar a day in scrip that they could spend at the post exchange, the base store, for toiletries, tobacco, chocolate and beer.

Bridge over Cook's Brook, Houlton, 1945

Bridge over Cook's Brook, Houlton, 1945
Item 13529   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

In 1945, ten Camp Houlton prisoners of war built this bridge over Cook's Brook near Houlton.

Camp Houlton Post Exchange staff, 1945

Camp Houlton Post Exchange staff, 1945
Item 13571   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum

Camp Houlton was established in 1944 for the internment of prisoners of war.

It provided laborers for local farms to harvest peas, pick potatoes and other work. The prisoners were paid a dollar a day in scrip that they could spend at the post exchange, the base store, for toiletries, tobacco, chocolate, and even beer.

In the back row of this picture are prisoners of war who worked in the post exchange. Seated on chairs are American civilian employees and U.S. Army soldiers.

The only people identified in the photograph are Lt. Walter A. Nelson, sitting cross-legged in front; Paris Brown (McPherson), at left, and Ruth Palmer, seventh from left.

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