Eventually, POWs in Wisconsin were housed on two base camps and in 38
branch camps, with the state having by 1945 about 20,000 of the more than
420,000 POWs in the U.S.
Once military base camp labor needs were met, POWs were placed in other
areas to be employed by private business owners. In Wisconsin, POWs worked
primarily in seasonal agricultural employment, although some worked in the
lumber industry or manufacturing. Because of the Geneva Convention stipulation
that POWs be paid for their work, those working in the U.S. received 80 cents
per day in “camp scrip” plus a 10-cent gratuity for personal needs. (POWs were
paid in “camp scrip” so they could make purchases only at the military bases or
camps – the money was worthless elsewhere if a POW escaped. Prisoners were
allowed, however, to start savings accounts redeemable upon repatriation.) So as
not to undercut union and other wages, the federal government collected the
difference between the pay the POWs were allowed to keep and wages paid regular
employees. POWs working in Wisconsin therefore realized an estimated $3.3
million for the U.S.
Monday, May 11, 2009
What The Silly People Are Saying
How soon they forget.