Michigan POW Camps in World War II
During World War II, Michigan became a temporary home to six thousand German and Italian POWs. At a time of homefront labor shortages, they picked fruit in Berrien County, harvested sugar beets in the Thumb, cut pulpwood in the Upper Peninsula and maintained parks and other public spaces in Detroit. The work programs were not flawless and not all of the prisoners were cooperative, but many of the men established enduring friendships with their captors. Author Gregory Sumner tells the story of these detainees and the ordinary Americans who embodied our highest ideals, even amid a global war.