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Enemy prisoner of war program is May 1 at Historical Museum

Tama Coutny Historical Society

April 25, 2019
From: Jason Staker , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

From Jason Staker

Tama Coutny Historical Society

The Tama County Historical Society will host a program on enemy prisoners of war (POW) in Iowa during World War II on Wednesday, May 1, beginning at 7 p.m. in the genealogical library, 200 N. Broadway St, Toledo.

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Chad Timm

The presenter is Chad W. Timm, associate professor of Education at Simpson College in Indianola.

As part of a relatively quiet and under-publicized government program, thousands of enemy soldiers invaded Iowa in 1943. With the hugely successful 1942 Allied campaign against Adolf Hitler's vaunted Afrika Corps in North Africa, the number of enemy POWs needing interment grew dramatically. Great Britain, no longer able to accommodate the increasing numbers, looked to the U.S. for help. Helping with the detainment of enemy POWs made sense, as American cargo vessels were returning home after delivering war materials with empty hulls.

What began as an experiment in isolated locations in the south and southwest eventually led to more than 500 camps and 400,000 enemy soldiers interned in the U.S., including two camps in the state of Iowa. Due to a severe shortage of agricultural laborers coupled with increased War Food Administration quotas for farm goods, Iowa's farmers needed help doing their part to assist the United States in winning the war.

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This talk will focus on the creation of POW camps in Iowa during World War II. Some of the topics discussed will be life in a prisoner of war camp, community relations, the POW labor program, and branch camps in more than 30 Iowa communities.

Timm taught high school history for 15 years and has also been teaching future social studies teachers since 2010. His master's degree in agricultural history and rural studies and his PhD in education are both from Iowa State University.

This program is supported by Humanities Iowa. It is free and open to the public. For more information about upcoming historical society programs, visit

Fact Box

Chronicle WHAT:Chad Timm:?Enemy POW?program

WHEN:Wed., May 1, 7 p.m

WHERE: ?Tama Co. Historical Society Museum, 200, N. Broadway, Toledo

Public invited



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