Independent Waverly, Iowa
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Sure, War Prisoners Here Eat Bread am
The nazi prisoners here ARE having bread and water for their meals—(as the rumor goes)—but they are also having ham and bacon and roast beef and cold meats and cheese, plenty of potatoes and fresh vegetables, not to mention butter, sugar bread, coffee, chocolate, milk and fruits with permission to use their ration for a cake when one of them has a birthday.
I had heard the bread and water rumor often so when Lt. Arthur Simpson, the army officer in charge, told me that I could visit the camp, as a representative of the press, I jumped at the chance. My coming had not been announced so everything I saw indicated the routine life out there. Boiled Cucumbers
I went Friday afternoon, arriving as the evening meal was being prepared. One of the nazis, rather middleaged looking and heavy, had a huge round bowl on the floor and was kneading other ingredients into a mountain of ground meat; on the stove were three very large vats, one for water for coffee, one full of potatoes and one bubbling full of sliced cucumbers. I'd never heard of boiled cucumbers but the mess sergeant, in answer to my bewildered exclamation when he lifted the lid on them, assured me they were "gute".
Korpsman in Kitchen
Over by the sink a pink-cheeked lad from Rommel's Afrika Korps was busy with routine kitchen work; the baker, an older man with thick glasses, was stirring up something at* one of the tables; the tall mess sergeant was checking on the progress of the fried meat patties which were being formed from the mass in the big.bowl; another man fixed a "lunch" for the army officer and me, serving it with a certain deference which appears to be part of the German military training. Stem Ends Too
The lunch, which was paid for in cold cash by the officer, looked more like a first rate supper but was simply a "plate of stuff" out of the. refrigerator. There were [the cold meats, the cheese, some [German potato salad, fresh cu-
cumbers and tomatoes, bread and butter, sweet bread, a slice of birthday cake and a cup of coffee. The tomatoes were sliced from the top down instead of crosswise— that is the way in the old country because the stem end and the top cannot be wasted as when we cut them out. By slicing up and down this tougher portion is distributed among more slices and hence is more pleasantly eaten.
In the large room of the lodge at the camp where the men are allowed to spend leisure foaurs, I found some writing letters, some reading, some working puzzles. (They are allowed to write one letter and one card a week.) In the same room is the canteen managed by a short, stocky man who wears a heavy gold ring and who was in business in Germany before the war.
The canteen is really a large wooden case which looks like a packing box but which opens to make a miniature store, its shelves filled with the soaps, shaving creams, razor blades, peanuts and talcum powder which the men have ordered. Any profit is placed in a camp account for recreational equipment to be used by the entire group.
Thirteen tents, all army issue, are placed around the central lodge as living quarters for the prisoners, a fourteenth serves as an infirmary, attended by a serious fellow who used to be with a medical unit in the German army. Near one of the living tents, the men had placed mattresses on a pile of boards and a couple of them were lying there sunning themselves.
Outside of the six-foot barbed wire fence which surrounds the lodge and tents were a number of the men clearing brush. That counts the same as work at the local canning plant and by it the prisoners earns the 80 cents a day which is the standard amount allowed for work for all war prisoners in this country and which |&4>ai&4i)* cou-
pons, hot cash. Where their earnings exceed 80 cents a day, the balance goes to the U. S. Treasury.
Brush cleaning is part of the contract with the Marshall Canning Co. in cooperation with the Y. W. C. A. at Waterloo. Also part of the contract was erection of a shower house to replace the outdoor showers in use since the camp was built as a recreation center three seasons ago. The men are to remain at the camp about a week after the canning season closes to finish stipulated work on the camp site.
The grounds are kept in apple pie order. A little tin can by the kitchen door has a sign above it "cigarette trunks" and a second sign of the same thing in German.
But this military neatness does not extend to making the men rule conscious. They were whistling and laughing most of the hour and a half I spent there. About the only strictly military incident was I the meeting of Lt. Simpson and one of the prisoners out in the ydrd.
The nazi, proudly wearing the white cap which distinguishes men of the Afrika Korps, clicked his heels, straightened like a ramrod and gave a wrist snapping salute. The expertness of this gesture reminded me sadly that probably most of that youth's years had' been occupied in ¦ learning just such things for today's nazi war machine has been a long time growing.
Stencil P and W
This youth and most of the others at the camp have excellent physiques, most are heavily tanned and most work in only shorts and shoes. All of their garments of course bear the "P" and "W" (for Prisoner War) which are painted on through the shining aluminum stencils which I sawT hanging in the cabin where the sergeant and another army man live.
In this same cabin, Lt. Simpson
showed me some of the many re-
1 cords which the United States
army is required to keep on these
prisoners. Everything is down ir.
black on white: name, work hours.
type of work, illnesses, canteen
purchases and all that.
Men of the United States army are inconspicuous about the camp although they are there as Uncle Sam's guards. They treat their job with dignity, neither fraternizing with the prisoners nor maintaining a cocked gun attitude. They simply are an the job, treating their prisoners as soldiers, maintaining to the letter those international laws which govern the situation.
This matter of dignity is one which might well be considered by those of us who live around here. In all the time I spent at the camp, I was never once conscious of being stared at unduly . . .and that is something which these men cannot say truthfully of us who nightly line the ropes at the canning factory or use precious gas ;and tires to drive past the camp. I I had only a glimpse of the Nazi spokesman at the prison-las he and a group of men went past the window of the mess hall while I was having lunch. He is a tall, grey haired man with even more poise than the others. Dogs Come Daily
It was only shortly after he and his group went by that I noticed a dog out in the brush playing with one of the prisoners. Lt. Simpson explained that he was one of the farm dogs living nearbj^ who were now in the habit of making regular trips to the camp.
No, we needn't worry about any mistreatment of the prisoners out there; but as I was rattling back to town in the high springless army truck, I couldn't help wonder if newspaper people would be given such privileges in enemy lands and if on a visit such as mine they would find that our boys are being treated as well as these lucky nazis.
(If you think I may have erred in any of these details, you might like to talk to A. H. Niewohner. As president of the Chamber of Commerce he visited the camp last week.)
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