Talk of the abuse of prisoners by American soldiers in Iraq brings to mind the treatment of German and Italian prisoners during World War II – German and Italian POWs who were imprisoned in Missouri. The treatment of those prisoners was anything but abusive. About a half-million prisoners of war were sent to the United States during World War II – with about 15,000 based in POW camps and work stations throughout Missouri. David Fiedler, who writes about Missouri’s wartime experience in “The Enemy Among Us: POWs In Missouri During World War II,” says the Germans and Italians who ended up in Missouri were – in many ways – fortunate in that they were fed well and housed well and lived better than they would have on the battlefield. And, they were allowed to work and were paid for the work they did. They were treated as well as American troops as teh U.S. government treated the prisoners in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Fiedler says in the post-War, many of these POWs returned to Missouri for visits. Some moved here permanently.
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