Sunbury Press is proud to announce the release of German Prisoners of War at Camp Cooke, California. It comes on the 75th anniversary of the first large wave of German POWs to arrive in America in 1943.
About the Book: Hitler’s soldier’s came to America not as goose-stepping conquering heroes, but as prisoners of war. By the time World War II ended in 1945, more than six hundred POW camps had sprung up across America holding a total of 371,683 German POWs. One of these camps was established at the U.S. Army’s training installation Camp Cooke on June 16, 1944.
The POW base camp at Cooke operated sixteen branch camps in six of California’s fifty-eight counties and is today the site of Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County. Compared to other prisoner of war camps in California, Camp Cooke generally held the largest number of German POWs and operated the most branch camps in the state.
A large number of the prisoners were from Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps, as well as from other military formations. Under the terms of the Geneva Convention, the prisoners received comfortable quarters and excellent care. They filled massive wartime labor shortages inside the main Army post at Cooke and in the private sector, mostly performing agricultural work for which they were paid. On weekends and evenings, they enjoyed many recreational entertainment and educational opportunities available to them in the camp. For many POWs, the American experience helped reshape their worldview and gave them a profound appreciation of American democracy.
This book is the compelling story of fourteen German soldiers who were captured during the campaigns in North Africa and Europe, and then waited out the remainder of the war as POWs in California. It is a firsthand account of life as a POW at Camp Cooke and the lasting impression it had on the prisoners.
"This is one of the best books that you will ever read about the German POW experience in America.I purchased my copy at the author's book discussion. Mr. Geiger gives his interviews full reign to discuss their experiences as soldiers in the Third Reich and their recollections as prisoners of war, while gently asking probing questions that elicit fascinating morsels of information. For instance, the terrible food supply in the German army, Nazi propaganda that claimed the Luftwaffe had bombed America; and hardcore Nazis intimidating fellow prisoners. Then there are instances of humanity between "enemies" such as when prisoners returned the rifles to the guard who has forgotten them while watching the POWs harvest crops; and the guards who handed his rifle to one of the prisoners when he had to relieve himself behind a bush. These are just a few of the anecdotes that make this book so fascinating. As I read each man's account, I began to feel as if I knew him personally. The excellent collection of illustrations adds to the feeling of being in the camp. The last chapter of this book should be read and studied by anyone who thinks that war is fun. These old warriors, who experienced the tragedies of war, share their views on how senseless it all was. This book review is for the expanded second edition of the book, published in 2018."
~ Joan Pirtle, five star Amazon review
Softcover 6 x 9
280 pages with more than 50 vintage photos
ISBN: 9781620067505 (softcover). Suggested retail price $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-62006-751-2 (eBook)
About the Author
Jeffrey E. Geiger is a retired professional historian. He is the author of Camp Cooke and Vandenberg Air Force Base, 1941-1966, and has published articles in magazines and newspapers.
Toll-Free Phone: (855) 338-8359
The book is also available from all booksellers as well as autographed copies directly from the author at: