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June 24, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

World War II: German POWs at Green Mountain

Camp Pickett_POW HeinzLast month’s posts about German POWs working for Buckingham County farmers produced lively comments from readers of Slate River Ramblings.

The Geneva Convention prohibited the POWs from accumulating American currency, however, they were allotted 10 cents per day in canteen credits (“script”) with which to buy luxury items such as beer, tobacco, candy, or toilet articles.

Camp Pickett_Script

Many were eager to earn more script and, according to author John Hammond Moore who wrote “Hitler’s Wehrmacht In Virginia, 1943-1946,” trustworthy enlisted men could volunteer for work on the base, earning another eighty cents a day in credit or to be held in reserve until peace came. They worked in mess halls, laundries, motor pools, and general construction. Others were hired by locals to cut pulpwood or pick fruits and vegetables.  These employers had to establish that there was no American labor available for the jobs and paid “the prevailing wage.”

The German prisoners worked throughout central Virginia. At Green Mountain, not far from Esmont in Albemarle County, Charlie and May Hamner hired POWs to help them work their farm.  They also furnished potatoes for the prison camp at White Hall. At the time, Charles Hamner, Jr. was only seven or eight years old.  He remembered that the POWs spoke English and were themselves excellent farmers.  Friendly fellows, they helped young Charles fix his bicycle.

If you missed last month’s posts, click here:

World War II: German POWs in central Virginia

World War II: POWs Apprehended in Buckingham County

Coming Next: More POWs in Buckingham

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