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45 During the transfer, sixteen of his fellow prisoners escaped. S. decisions to adhere to the Geneva Convention influenced the transfer of POWs from North Africa and Europe to America. This transfer offset the cost of POW care by locating POWs near areas in the United States that needed their labor. POWs were billeted on empty troop and supply ships and, when wounds or disease necessitated, on hospital ships. 47 Transfer of POWs to the United States continued uninterrupted until Germany surrendered.
Georg Gaertner, captured in April 1943 in North Africa, was among the last of the Afrika Korps to be taken prisoner. He received processing and a 26 Sprechen Sie Deutsch? serial number while in North Africa. He remembered the search and seizure that so many other POWs bitterly recalled: “We were searched for weapons and military papers, but not being officers we had neither. The fact never seemed to bother our captors who viewed us as a continual source of war souvenirs. ”41 Gaertner offered some observations about the American military at the time of his capture.
51 When not getting seasick, the prisoners forgot about the war and their POW status, if just momentarily. According to Humphrey, they “were musically inclined. From somewhere or other we dug up a few instruments for them and every night they gave us a concert. They were quite good and it was pleasant to hear some of their fine old drinking songs and waltzes out in the middle of a war-infested ocean. ”52 Strict discipline and labor details onboard the ships snapped the POWs back to reality. ”53 Humphrey mentioned to a German officer the work ethic of the POWs as they conducted routine work details.
AerMacchi MC 200