German prisoners picking potatoes, Houlton, 1945Contributed by Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum
In 1944 a major part of the Houlton Army Air Base was made into Camp Houlton, a Prisoner of War (POW) internment camp. POWs could not be forced to work, but could volunteer, which many of the German POWs at Houlton did. They helped local farmers harvest peas, pick potatoes and do other work. Some were not allowed to work for security reasons. Many farmers came to see the POWs who worked their fields as good laborers rather than enemy soldiers. The prisoners were paid a dollar a day in scrip that they could spend at the post exchange, the base store, for toiletries, tobacco, chocolate, and even beer. Pictures of prisoners of war are unusual because taking them was not allowed.
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