"Camp Janesville" - World War II POW's Lived Here

A 'Sound Off' entry in today's Janesville Gazette (November 10, 2010 p. 6A) asks about German POWs in Janesville during World War II. According to the Local History Database on Hedberg Public Library's web site, 'Camp Janesville' opened at the corner of Western Avenue (Rockport Road) and Crosby when 250 German prisoners were brought here to help with the canning industry. Assisting them were "high school students, Jamaicians, Barbadians, Mexicans, soldiers from Truax field and full time war workers who work short shifts in order to help with the harvest."

Betty Cowley's book, Stalag Wisconsin: Inside WWII Prisoner-of-War Camps, includes a chapter about Camp Janesville, with recollections of people who lived in the area at the time.

Included are memories of Mary Lee, wife of Captain Hugh Lee, Camp Commander in the summer of 1944. They lived in a mobile home beside the camp.

Cowley's book includes over 30 Wisconsin POW camps, from Antigo to Wisconsin Rapids. Rock County public libraries have copies available to loan. Her book includes an extensive list of primary source material about Camp Janesville. Librarians at Hedberg's Reference Desk can assist you.

We found this article, describing the closing of the camp, using our research database NewspaperArchive. This is free online through our Research Databases page with your Hedberg Public Library card.

"Camp Janesville Closes Monday"

--The Janesville Daily Gazette
October 26, 1945

(click several times to enlarge)

This article explains that POW's were paid 55 cents per hour for their labor. Prisoners were allowed to keep 80 cents per day for their spending money.

Note the headline to the right of the Camp Janesville article ,about the safe return of four solders from the 192nd Tank Company:

Contact the Reference Desk for more information: 608-758-6581 or referencedesk@hedbergpubliclibrary.org

--posted by sb

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