In addition to serving as an Army training base, Camp Howze was also the sight of an internment camp for German Prisoners of War (POWs). The first POWs arrived at Camp Howze in 1943, and the last to leave departed in late 1946 (despite Germany surrendering in May of 1945, many POWs remained interned for over a year after that). Roughly 3,000 POWs were held at Camp Howze over the course of the war.
The POWs at Camp Howze were considered to be “low risk” and were allowed to go off camp to work in the surrounding community, going as far south as Denton and as far west as Montague County. The POWs mostly performed agricultural work for local farmers, but some were also employed by businesses. With so many American working-age men going off to fight in the war, POW labor was a much-needed boon for the North Texas economy.
Although there were problems involving the POWs, including Nazis stirring up trouble and legal disputes with local businesses over where the POWs' labor was most needed, Camp Howze's overall record of POW internment was remarkably smooth. Many POWs stated that they enjoyed their time at the camp, and that the Americans at Camp Howze and in the surrounding area treated them with kindness and respect. Likewise, many locals became fond of the POWs, who established themselves as honest and hardworking. The POWs left a lasting mark on the surrounding community, and vice versa.
Below are a few items that offer a sense of what the POW camp entailed, as well as the lives of the prisoners at Camp Howze. For a detailed description of each item, please click on the image.