German POWs in Minnesota, 1940s

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As World War II progressed, captured German soldiers were increasing in numbers, and the U.S. needed to do something with them. Numerous POWs were scattered throughout the country and used as labor. Algona, Iowa was the main POW camp in the United States, and several Germans were sent to Algona Branch Camp Number 1 — located in Clay County, Minnesota, just across the river from Fargo. Farm labor was scarce due to the number of men recruited for the military, so POWs helped in the cultivation and harvesting of the crops. This was not a forced labor program; the German soldiers were paid for their work. The above photo was taken at on the Paul Horn farm; Horn was chosen to take POWs because of his position on Clay County's Farm Labor Advisory Board, and the fact he spoke German fluently. From an article in the 8/78 Binford's Guide.

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On Leave at Duffy's Gay Nineties

The back of this postcard says it was taken in Coney Island, so I doubt there was a real Duffy's Gay Nineties -- just a painted backdrop for fun-seekers to get a photo to mail back home. These two guys, on leave from the Army in 1946, seem to be enjoying themselves. The guy on the left has a single chevron, identifying him as private. The guy on the right, while blurry, still has a clear enough view of his unit patch: 1st Army. The guy on the right has some tell-tales in that hand, too (besides the bottle): on his ring-finger is a wedding ring, and between his fingers, a cigarette. The war was over, his best gal was waiting for him back home, and he got to live it up at Coney Island once in a while - he had no complaints.

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