Prisoner of War? in Michigan?

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Marianne D
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Prisoner of War? in Michigan?

Postby Marianne D » 27 Jul 2015, 21:11

Hello, hoping someone can help with this. I have a photo that shows family members with two men in uniform with part of a patch on their left arms and I can see the letters ITAL on it so I am wondering if these two were prisoners of war or possibly non-USA citizens being held. They are all standing in front of a tall fence with barbed wire on the top in an open area with just a few buildings showing in the background. This photo was taken during WW2 in or near Detroit, Michigan. Can anyone provide any information about this? Thanks so much!
Marianne De Palma

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Tessa78
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Re: Prisoner of War? in Michigan?

Postby Tessa78 » 30 Jul 2015, 01:53

You did not post the picture, so I am including some links about POW camps in Michigan during WWII... :-)

A Youtube video about Camp Allegan Michigan...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0BUsEwbVHs

And at this link - American Heritage Trail
In 1944 five-thousand POW’s (German and Italian soldiers taken prisoner during World War II) were sent to Michigan, 250 to Allegan County, to assist farmers during the 1944 harvest as most of the men were away fighting the war in Europe and in the Pacific. They were held at Camp Lakewood, which was a Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camp built in 1936.

http://www.allegancountyheritage.com/Guide/site06.htm

A local history site...
http://www.hollandsentinel.com/article/ ... /305229933

T.

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Re: Prisoner of War? in Michigan?

Postby Biff83 » 30 Jul 2015, 02:44

Hi T! Hope all is well.

The men were likely part of one of the Italian Service Units made up of Italian POWs. Following links contain detailed information.

http://www.militarytrader.com/military- ... t_insignia

http://www.prisonersinparadise.com/history.html

Biff
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Tessa78
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Re: Prisoner of War? in Michigan?

Postby Tessa78 » 30 Jul 2015, 15:42

Hi Biff! :-)

Great information!!!
This section of your second link may be of interest to the poster...

Comparing and contrasting the experiences of Italian POWs on the East Coast with POW experiences in the mid-West and on the West Coast reveals that, while their lives inside camp walls were quite similar, surrounding communities had a strong influence on how much freedom POWs had to move outside camp boundaries... in states like Utah, Michigan, and Ohio, Italians serving in Italian Service Units had some modified privileges and an unofficially sanctioned freedom of movement. POWs could be escorted out of the camp by U.S. soldiers (which usually required a bribe) or POWs could sneak out of the camp and sneak back in, under an unofficial agreement by which American soldiers would turn a blind eye.


T.

Marianne D
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Re: Prisoner of War? in Michigan?

Postby Marianne D » 01 Aug 2015, 18:19

Tessa and Biff...thank you so much! The links were filled with great information. All of this fits with what I was told and it's all going in the "file" which I am creating trying to give information about many of the family stories. In addition to the photo which shows everyone in a camp of some sort, there is another with one of the men in my grandparent's back yard. I was told they could get a day pass. It is also possible that they were at Ft Wayne in Detroit. If you would like to see the picture maybe I could email it to you. Thanks again!!!! Marianne

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Tessa78
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Re: Prisoner of War? in Michigan?

Postby Tessa78 » 01 Aug 2015, 20:11

Would love to see it!

Can you post it?

T.

Marianne D
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Re: Prisoner of War? in Michigan?

Postby Marianne D » 02 Aug 2015, 06:53

I will post it soon


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