World War II Prisoners of War in North Carolina

POWs captured from the sinking on U-352

POWs captured from the sinking on U-352

On May 9, 1942, the U.S. Coast Guard sank German U-boat 352 off the Outer Banks. Thirteen German sailors died and 33 were plucked from the water. They were taken to Fort Bragg and confined as prisoners of war. During the course of the war thousands of POWs—mostly German and Italians—were captured and sent to camps in North Carolina.

Most POWs were brought to North Carolina from abroad. Fritz Teichmann was a member of the German Luftwaffe (the air corps) and was captured in Sicily in July 1943. He was held as a POW at Camp Butner in Granville County. Giuseppe Pagliarulo, a soldier in Benito Mussolini’s Italian army, was captured in Tunisia in North Africa in May 1943 and held at Camp Sutton in Monroe.

So many POWs were brought to the state that men were sent from larger military bases to smaller branch camps. These smaller camps housed up to 500 men each and were located in 16 communities around the Tar Heel state, including Whiteville, Roanoke Rapids, Williamston and Hendersonville. From there, they were placed on compulsory work details and sent out to cut pulpwood, dig ditches, wash dishes and pick apples. Their employers—farmers, loggers and restaurant owners—knew of the camps but otherwise their presence was relatively secret.

Read more in North Carolina and the Two World Wars from N.C. Historical Publications.

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4 responses to “World War II Prisoners of War in North Carolina”

  1. Robert McIntosh says :

    Do we know what happened to them after the war. Were they sent back to their native countries or did they assimilate into NC and the US? Thx, bob

    Robert G. McIntosh
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  2. Cotton Boll Conspiracy says :

    These and the hundreds of thousands of other Axis POWs who were sent to the US probably got the break of their lives by being captured and to North America to wait out the war. They were treated decently, fed decently and avoided the hellhole of the remainder of World War II.

  3. George Redgrave says :

    I knew a German soldier who was taken prisoner in Normandy. He was a POW in the US before being sent to Belgium then England. They had a pretty hard time in Belgium. After the war he worked in a car factory in England and married an English woman. Some time after his wife’s death he lived with his married daughter near me until his death a couple of years ago.

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