J09. German POWs Entertaining in Massachusetts

5,000 German POWs were detained at Fort Devens, Massachusetts from February 1944-May 1946. 22 of them died while interned.

Fort Devens was one of 500 such camps in the United States that held more than 400,000 POWs. Most soldiers at Fort Devens were captured in North Africa and Italy. The camp self-selected itself into Nazi and Anti-Nazi German factions, a division that at times resulted in violence – including eight documented cases of prisoner on prisoner murder.

This photo album is entirely filled with photographs and program guides of the evening entertainment: plays, variety shows, orchestra, and more. Obviously, as an all male camp, all female roles had to be cast by male prisoners. The included program guides are informative because they list the names of the POWs on stage.

Contemporary photo albums of German POWs in the United States are exceedingly scarce. This album shows German POWs well cared for and engaging in public entertainment.

FORT DEVENS, U.S.A. ERINNERUNG AN DIE KRIEGSGEFANGENSCHAFT. [Memories of Wartime Captivity]. Fort Devens, Massachusetts: n.p., 1944-1945. 260 by 340mm (10¼ by 13½ inches). Faux leather cord bound photo album; [33] lvs. Hand-written title page.

87 original photographs, 11 printed program guides, 6 newspaper clippings. Photographs of various sizes, but many in large formats such as 5 by 8 ¾ inches. Last 9 lvs. blank and some photographs loose – however the album appears complete. Album Good with fraying and bumping to covers and boards bowing slightly; photographs Good to Very Good.


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