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'Guests of the Third Reich' looks at American POWs

November 12, 2012|By Anne Harnagel | Los Angeles Times staff writer
  • Liberated American POWs celebrate in Dulag Luft, a transit camp in Nazi Germany.
Liberated American POWs celebrate in Dulag Luft, a transit camp in Nazi… (National Archives )

As we observed Veterans Day, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans unveiled an exhibit chronicling the experiences of the 93,941 American prisoners of war held in the nearly 100 camps or stalags scattered throughout Nazi Germany and German-occupied territory. "Guests of the Third Reich"  highlights the POWs’ personal stories and life inside the camps, using oral histories from some of the prisoners themselves.

Artifacts on display include a Red Cross aid package, one of more than 27 million shipped to prisoners; a violin made from materials scavenged around Stalag Luft I; and blank books, distributed by the YMCA with colored pencils, filled with drawings, snapshots and poems of camp life. Visitors also can swipe through  pages of prisoners’ journals that have been placed on iPads and read the entries. For those who can't make the trip to New Orleans, a presentation of the exhibit can be seen at www.guestsofthethirdreich.org.

Info: The National WWII Museum, (504) 528-1944. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m daily.  “Guests of the Third Reich” through July 7.  

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