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  1. During WWII I lived with my parents in Vancouver, WA the site of the Vancouver VA Hospital. A number of German and Italian POWs were assigned menial jobs at the hospital. This was perhaps in 1943 – 1945. As a young pre-teen ager several of my friends and I would take the bus ocassionally to Portland, OR, just across the Columbia River to go to the movies. Many times we would see Italian POWs in groups of 2 or 3 on the streets in downtown Portland on “leave” acting like ordinary tourists. They wore khaki shirts and trousers with green shoulder patches identifying them as “ITALY POW”. They drew a lot of curious looks but I do not recall anyone inter-acting with them. To me, a little kid, it all seemed rather strange

    1. I live in Kelso, WA. My mother worked in the Vancouver Ship Yards. I remember her telling me of the Italian POWS on the bus to Portland. Where was their camp?

      1. Hi Greg, thanks for your question. I can’t provide much help for you since my study focused on Missouri prisoner of war camps, but there are a couple of good national studies that may have the information you’re looking for.

        Thanks and good luck. Sounds like your mom had a very interesting connection with that part of our history.

        Best to you, David Fiedler, author, Enemy Among Us: POWs in Missouri during World War II.

  2. I have a painting by Giacomo Nessi who painted it while a POW at Camp Reingarten. It is a painting of his home in Italy as he remembered it. I would love to get more information about him and what happened to him after the war. The painting is dated 8/1/1943.

  3. Hello Rita-

    Thanks for your question. I wrote a book that documents the history of the Italian (and German) POWs in Missouri during WWII. While I can tell you in general it is difficult to know what happened to many prisoners after the war due to records simply being lost with the passage of time and/or vague and/or incomplete, the fact that you have a prisoner’s name and date is a good clue. In fact, Giacomo Nessi’s name is familiar to me and it is possible if not likely that he painted other works that were given to others as well.

    I would be interested in hearing how you came into the painting and would enjoy seeing photographs of it if possible.

    For a broad history of these camps, including specific details about Weingarten, my book, The Enemy Among Us, will have a great deal of information.

    Thanks again and best regards — David Fiedler

  4. My mother, Frances Weyand worked at Weingarten during WWII and I remember some of her remarks about her time at the camp. One of the things she told me was that the Italian POW dentist at the camp was one of the best that she had. Also she commented that families of the POW’s who resided in the US would come and visit their cousins and nephews on their holidays from as far away as the east coast. These are just a couple of the things she told me. My father was in the Army and up in the Aleutians during this time.

  5. My grandfather was a guard here. We have a couple rosaries that the POW’s had made. My father and mother used to talk about this place. Both of them were children when this was built.

  6. My family moved to Weingarten MO in 1981. My friends and I use to ride our motorcycles on the property where the camps were. My brother and I found puddles of mercury in the rubble of some silo structures and placed it in a container. Still to this day I have the mercury, and it weighs about 25lbs for appx 1/2″ of the toxic liquid. I wouldn’t doubt if there is still puddles of it laying around out there. I also found a death certificate from a pow at a garage sale in St. Louis which is 60 miles north…

  7. My grandfather, Ben Lloyd McGee, was a maintenance worker who lived with his family on the property of the Weingarten POW camp during that time until it closed. My father, Harold McGee, tells many stories about the Italians there. Many wanted to stay. They grew wonderful vegetables in their gardens and many were very talented. My father has a pencil drawing of himself as a young teenager drawn by one of the prisoners that looks exactly like him. We also have a small desk built by the prisoners in which the drawer is made from a wooden cigar box. This desk was in my grandfathers office at the camp. One job my father had during the time the camp was winding down was to drive the firetruck around the camp twice each day. He was only twelve or thirteen at the time and this was quite a thrill for him.

  8. My father (Eugene (Dick) Holdman took most of our family to this POW camp. in 1943-or 44. not to sure
    on the year, was 7yrs old or so but I do remember this event.Of course we could only observe from a distance
    but I remember a Jeep with at least 2 GIs and large machine gun mounted on it. they drove on roadway on the
    perminter of the Camp.

  9. i have a photograph of my mother and a boy/man who i believe is my uncle, with a notation on the back: Tenente Porcelli Nicola, 39590 Co-14 POW camp, Box 20 Gen PO NY NY. My grandfather’s name is Nicholas Porcelli. i am trying to determine if he was pow there or worked there. Any ideas?

  10. My grandparents (Homer & Kathleen Schmidt) raised their family in Ste. Genevieve, MO. My grandfather had property in Weingarten. I remember my mom (Rose Mary Schmidt) telling me stories about my grandmother making pies and other treats for the POW’s. My mom and aunts would deliver them to the camp.

  11. Hi, my name is Cristiano Tomassi, from Cassino fr, Italy; my father was captured prisoner during WWII and then transferred in Wingarthen Camp. My faher often spoke me about this period and about the activities and life in Weingarten camp.

    I would be very happy, if any of you, can give me some information or any news about photos or documents or other, like prison diaries regarding this period and, naturally, my father.

    Pow : TOMASSI MARIO GIUSEPPE, born in Aquino fr, (Italy), 13.01.1923

    Thank you very much for your attention, Cristiano Tomassi, Cassino fr (son).

    1. We lived at New Offenburg when I was born in 1952. My dad used to drop us off to play at the camp because my Aunt lived across the road from where the camp was. There was still buildings there and we collected lots of cool stuff like helmet liners, canteen, silverware and all sorts of stuff. Of course none of it was kept, because then it was just stuff. I can’t remember all the things we found, but we always had armloads of things to take home and play with. I remember lots of papers and stuff which we ignored, sure wish I had collected some of them. I live in Idaho now, but still drive by there when we go back to visit.

  12. Can I get directions so that I can go and see what remains my mother grew up in the weingarten area in the 1950’s

  13. Ruth Ann Young. Go to Weingarten on MO Rte. 32. Turn into the town on the south side of the road. There is another road that leaves the town toward the southwest. Take it about a 1/2 mile, The access to the property is on private land and is not marked. Watch for a brick house on the left side of the road with a large garden and a gate going to a pasture. The owner allowed us to go back to the site as long as we closed gates to prevent the cattle from escaping.

    Nothing remains except the fireplace from the officers building and a few foundations. So it is questionable if it is worth the effort. Unless you have the opportunity to talk with the owner. As a young girl she used to attend dances there and had some personal stories that were quite interesting.

    As a child I went to the camp around 1949-50 to make a delivery. The camp was closed and I do not recall why we were there. It made an impression on me and led me to locate the camp a few years back.

  14. I have some trench art from one of the prisoners. I was wondering if there is a list of the names of the prisoners. It has his name etched into the back of the art. I would love to somehow find his family and get the item to them.

    1. Hi Brad, thanks for your post. While I can tell you in general it is difficult to know what happened to many prisoners after the war due to records simply being lost with the passage of time and/or vague and/or incomplete, the fact that you have a prisoner’s name and date is a good clue. Perhaps a google search of his last name will turn up cities in Italy with others who have that same family name. If you can find a way to correspond with someone there, especially someone associated with a historical and/or genealogical society, you may be able to track down some relatives. Best of luck with your search and let me know please if you have success. David Fiedler, author, The Enemy Among Us: POWs in Missouri During WWII. http://davefiedler.com, (Enable Javascript to see the email address)
      Thanks again and best regards — David Fiedler


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