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Florida History: World War II proceeded; German POWs and Urban Legends

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Florida History: World War II proceeded; German POWs and Urban Legends
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Florida History: World War II proceeded; German POWs and Urban Legends

Today, we carry on with World War II visiting Florida. Especially, the clear presence of German prisoner-of-war camps and also the profusion of rumors and legends that are urban sprang up throughout the war. Welcome to Florida Time, a regular line about Florida history.

A lot more than 9,000 German POWs decided to go to 22 Florida camps, including facilities in Belle Glade and Clewiston. They decided to go to work with areas close to the camp before 8 a.m. and had been straight right straight back around 3 p.m.

Some prisoners bolted for freedom, but Florida had not been a place that is easy be regarding the lam, and additionally they had been caught. These people weren’t penalized for wanting to escape. The army charged farmers the rate that is going work, but could actually show a revenue by spending prisoners 80 cents each day in coupons they traded for products such as for example cigarettes and alcohol. Nearly instantly, Germans place small Belle Glade, in the south end of Lake Okeechobee, in the map that is national they held a two-day attack over a cut in tobacco cigarette rations. The public that is american press and politicians angrily painted term photos of coddled Germans whining over cigarettes at the same time when GIs had been stumbling across Nazi concentration camps.

Florida Time archives: Get swept up on the whole stories you’ve missed

On the list of metropolitan legends, the many persistent is German subs supposedly delivered parties ashore to purchase materials or get items from “nests” of sympathizers. It absolutely was always money installment loans rumored that queries of captured boats had revealed cigarettes that are american a Holsum bakery wrapper and seats for western Palm Beach’s Florida Theatre. ( This legend that is urban the tradition of these that surface in various towns. Historians in nj and new york reporting the exact same legends mention bakeries and concert halls as well.)

The belated University of Florida teacher Michael Gannon, whom penned two publications in regards to the U-boat wars, said it simply would not have occurred. Veteran U-boat commanders insisted no body left subs except to fulfill along with other subs at sea. It can have now been absurd to risk capture for cigarettes or activity.

Gannon additionally stated sailors had been cooped up for months in a cramped, jammed, residing area that has been ventilated only if the motorboat surfaced. They soaked in stale atmosphere, human anatomy waste and crude oil fumes and frequently had no possiblity to bathe for days at the same time. Had certainly one of them bellied as much as a Palm Beach club, Gannon argued, folks within smelling range will have recalled.

READER REWIND: What Is your Florida tale? Share it with Eliot by making a voicemail at (850) 270-8418.

There is one landing for genuine also it had been the most dramatic moments associated with war in the us.

In 1942, in Operation Pastorius, Germans who’d grown up in America and returned to their homeland were dropped off by U-Boats; four on New York’s Long Island and four at Ponte Vedra Beach, south of Jacksonville june.

Their objective: terrorism. These people were to scatter to the countryside and destroy railroads, energy flowers, dams, water flowers, factories, train and bus terminals and bridges.

The plot collapsed when one of many longer Island four, Georg Dasch, got cool foot and dropped a coin in a payphone to your FBI. The eight had been rounded up, attempted, and sentenced to death by electric seat. Six died. One got life. Dasch got three decades. Those two had been deported in 1948.

Back Germany, Dasch penned a book saying the FBI covered up the role that is german’s they didn’t want the general public to understand the agency never ever might have learned for the plot if you don’t for Dasch’s assistance. In 1980, an Atlanta Constitution reporter, making use of previously categorized documents, vindicated Dasch.

Georg Dasch would invest the others of his life hoping to get authorization to go back to America and fail. He passed away in Germany in 1991.

A week ago: Florida History: we’d not be equivalent after World War II

A few weeks: History Ain’t Pretty, Florida Edition

From a audience: Dear Eliot, don’t forget the Navy blimps that travelled away from Richman Field S of Miami(site of current zoo). These were sub-spotters. Much larger than the Goodyear blimp. Additionally, numerous a-listers competed in Florida. Clark Gable ended up being commissioned an officer at Bayshore greens in Miami Beach. -Paul G Kelly, Juno Beach

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