ROCKLAND — Hank Lunn will present the illustrated talk, "German Prisoners of War in Maine: From Foe to Friend," Thursday, June 20, at 2 p.m., in the Rockland Public Library's Community Room .
In 1944, the U.S. Army Air Base, in Houlton, became the site of a Prisoner of War (POW) internment camp for German soldiers captured in North Africa and France. The POW’s could not be forced to work, but could volunteer. Those who wanted to work helped the local farmers harvest peas, pick potatoes and cut wood in the forest during winter. The prisoners were paid a dollar a day in scrip that they could spend at their post exchange for toiletries, tobacco, chocolate, even beer. College courses were offered to those who wish to study.
In the fall of 1945, Hank Lunn's father decided to request prisoners to help with the potato harvest because the people they usually hired were not available due to the war. Another very compelling reason for asking for help was that the Germans cost the farmers very little, according to Rockland Public Library, in a news release.
For Lunn, a 13-year-old boy, the arrival of German soldiers, who may have killed some of his neighbors, was fearsome. His young mind was not too sure it was a good idea to have the “enemy” right there on his family farm.
“From Foe to Friend” will tell the personal story of what the experience was like to have German soldiers working on his family farm in Littleton, Aroostook County, Maine.
The event, sponsored by Friends of Rockland Public Library, is free and open to the public.
The Library is located at 80 Union St.