Scene from Camp Concordia Museum in Concordia, Kan. Courtesy/LAHS
By Sharon Snyder
Los Alamos Historical Society
When Liz Martineau took over as executive director of the Historical Society last summer, I interviewed her for the Los Alamos Daily Post. In the course of that interview she mentioned that her father was a history buff and had written a book. “I’ll loan you a copy,” she said. The next day the book appeared on my desk—Camp Concordia: German POWs in the Midwest by Lowell A. May.
This week’s history column will no doubt read like a book review because Lowell May reeled me in with his first few pages. The book features in-depth research, and it opened an entirely new area of history for me.
With so many young men serving in the armed forces during World War II, there was a shortage of labor on farms. I had heard of a camp near Lordsburg, New Mexico, where German prisoners of war (POWs) worked on nearby farms, but after reading May’s book and doing further research online, it became clear that what I had learned to that point was only part of something much larger. The story of POW camps in the United States is sometimes referred to as one of the least studied aspects of the history of World War II.
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These articles are written by the Los Alamos Historical Society Staff. Many of these articles were originally published by the