The Council Bluffs Public Library will host author Linda McCann, who will discuss her book, “Prisoners of War in Iowa,” at 6:30 p.m. on July 18.
During World War II, 450,000 prisoners of war were utilized in the United States to help with food production and picking cotton to recoup the farm labor lost to the war effort.
What many may not know is that 25,000 of those POWS were housed in Iowa. About 17 camps were set up throughout the state for specific agricultural projects.
The prisoners in Audubon, for example, were utilized by a seed corn company. The camps in Algona and Clarinda held a combined 6,000 men.
McCann, who grew up in Waverly, wants to shed light on this period in world and local history, especially the honorable treatment not popularly associated with POW camps.
McCann has been quoted as saying, “We treated them well ... We treated them as we agreed to do in the Geneva Convention. So the U.S. did what they agreed to do.”
Many even came back to the post-war United Sates after returning to their native countries of Germany, Italy and Japan. According to McCann, about 3,000 immigrated and became citizens.
Four former German POWs chose to make a home in Iowa. Those men became a part of Iowa’s history. McCann knows that their stories deserve to be told.
McCann’s books are published by The Iowan Books. Copies of “Prisoners of War in Iowa” will be available for purchase at the event.
This event will be in Meeting Room B and is free and open to the public. For more information contact the Library at 712-323-7553, Ext. 132.