German POW Letter -1947 and POW Contract


Sodus Point Prisoners. Photo Courtesy of Debra Werfelman. Photo from World War II Prisoner of War Camps in Wayne County, New York and Their Prisoners by Annette T. Harris Page 34

 

From the fall of 1944 until the spring of 1946, Sodus Point had a Prisoner of War Camp located on Lake Road as you entered the village from the west. Here they housed over 100 mostly German POWs. These POWs were mainly used to help local farms harvest their  crops due to the severe manpower shortages that World War 2 imposed. One of these farms belonged to Arthur C. Boller. His farm was located on Lake Road adjacent to the Sodus Fruit Farm.

You can learn more about the Sodus Point Prisoner of War Camp by clicking this link: http://historicsoduspoint.com/the-battles/ww-ii-pow-camp-3/

 

A very special “Thanks” to Bill McKee for providing the following information that he obtained from his Grandfather Arthur Boller:

Every farm that used POWs during the war had to sign a contract with the U.S. War Department that laid out very specific guidelines on such things  as time frames, man hours to be used, length of the workday, and pay schedule. The farmer would pay this amount to the government who would then pay the prisoners. Generally, the POWs were afforded the same wages and working conditions as normal farm laborers.

Here is a summary of the pay schedule:

 

To view the entire contract click the link below:

Contract PDF

 

The German POWS were treated fairly, well fed (for many of them for the first time in their lives) and paid fairly for their work. After the war was over and they went back to their hometowns, they faced an uncertain future in a war ravaged homeland. Some would return to the U.S. and some wanted to but were unable. They never forgot their experiences in the U.S. and a number of them kept in contact as witnessed by this letter in 1947 from Fritz Neudecker (former POW) to the Boller family:

12.11.47 (November 12, 1947)

Dear Sir & Madam Roller:

At present I allow me to write to you, I don’t know will you still remember me or not.  I was for 2 years in America as P.O.W. in the Camp Sodus Point.  I am often thinking at this time. We has sometime many pleasure there, and I will very often remember at your beautiful country.   I know very well your country and your Farm.  I was working on time at your farm with Fritz Hetzel (?) of Berlin.  Can you remember him.  I was after America in England for another 1 ½ years and the last few months I has been in the Hospital in England for an operation and now I am at home since 17.12 of October in Germany in the French Zone, but it is not very good here. I like to come back to America if possible. Because you know I am farmer and I have for myself some fruit trees but I can’t do so much, because everything is very expensive and we can’t buy anything.  I don’t know how I am should manage in my future.

I would be very please if I get a letter of you sometime, and I would be very thankful for it.

Now I want finish my letter for today, and I wish I get a letter of your very soon please.

All my best wishes to you all.

Yours truly,

Fritz Neudecker

 

My address:

 Mr. Fritz Neudecker

 Hiechs b. Schopfheim

 Germany – French Zone

 

Click here for the original letter: letter 1