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April - June 2010     VOLUME 14 ISSUE 2
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Held on the Homefront: German POWS in the South, 1943-46

Stephanie Haimes

A traveling exhibit, “Held on the Homefront: German POWS in the South,1943-46” that tells the unknown story of German POWs held in Camps all over the U. S. during WWII will be at the W. T. Bland Public Library for one day – Friday, April 23 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. A partnership of the Mount Dora Library Association, the Friends of the Library andthe Mount Dora Historical Association is underwriting the cost of bringing this traveling exhibit to the Library.

During WW II, the South was home to approximately 250 prisoner of war camps. There were 27 POW camps alone in Florida. In fact the one in Leesburg now is home to the Lake-Sumter Community College. Although few people know the story today, almost half a million Axis POWs were held in the U. S. during WWII. Three hundred and eighty thousand of these POWS were Germans, held in 660 camps in almost every state in the nation. They worked side by side with their American “hosts” and in the process formed relationships, some lasting for decades. Using ten narrative panels and films about this story, TRACES’ mobile museum – a retrofitted school bus called the Bus-eum 3 – will tour 26 states in the Midwest, South, Southeast and Eastern Seaboard from Labor Day 2009 through June 2010. The exhibit consists of 15 narrative display panels illustrated with photographs and documents, audio and DVD documentaries, artifacts and more.

TRACES Center for History and Culture is a Midwest WWII History museum located in downtown St. Paul, MN. Each of its more than two dozen exhibits about Midwesterners’ encounters with Germans or Austrians between 1933 and 1938 forma a larger mosaic, a fuller image of a war that is often misunderstood or seen in clichés. At TRACES ( WWII is a case study to learn from for today and future generations. The traveling exhibit “Held on the Homefront: German POWs in the South, 1943 -46” will be held at the W. T. Bland Public Library located at 1995 N. Donnelly Street in Mount Dora.

All Library programs are free and open to the public. For additional information, call (352) 735-7180 option 5.