11
Jan
09

On This Day, 1-11-2009: German POWs

January 11, 1944

Nazi enforcers terrorize German POWs in U.S. internment camps

Franz Kettner, a private in the German army and a prisoner of war at Camp Concordia in Kansas, is killed by a Nazi kangaroo court. Internment camps for German prisoners of war were dominated by Nazi enforcers, who killed as many as 150 of their fellow prisoners during World War II. Only seven were officially considered murder. Kettner’s wrists were slashed so that his death would be recorded as a suicide.

Even the smallest infraction could put German prisoners at risk. Those who talked to guards, spoke English, or refused to parrot the Nazi line were often beaten or killed. American camp officials generally looked the other way because they appreciated the discipline and order that the Nazis provided in the camps. Prisoners who were not ethnically German and had been conscripted into service were in particular danger from their fellow prisoners.

In the later part of 1943, a rash of murders were committed at camps all across America. When Corporal Johann Kunze was beaten to death in an Oklahoma camp for allegedly providing Americans with information, five Nazi sergeants were charged with his murder. They were hanged in 1945 and became the first foreign prisoners of war to meet that fate in the United States.

Eventually, American officials began separating the Nazis from the anti-Nazi Germans.

Despite Nazi threats that those who opposed them would be in bad shape when the war was over, anti-Nazi prisoners were often put in positions of power by Americans when they were repatriated. The Nazis, on the other hand, were widely scorned after Hitler’s defeat.

“Nazi enforcers terrorize German POWs in U.S. internment camps.” 2009. The History Channel website. 11 Jan 2009, 02:36 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=874.

On This Day

1569 – England’s first state lottery was held.

1805 – The Michigan Territory was created.

1861 – Alabama seceded from the United States.

1867 – Benito Juarez returned to the Mexican presidency, following the withdrawal of French troops and the execution of Emperor Maximilian.

1878 – In New York, milk was delivered in glass bottles for the first time by Alexander Campbell.

1902 – “Popular Mechanics” magazine was published for the first time.

1942 – Japan declared war against the Netherlands. The same day, Japanese forces invaded the Dutch East Indies.

1943 – The United States and Britain signed treaties relinquishing extraterritorial rights in China.

1964 – U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released a report that said that smoking cigarettes was a definite health hazard.

1988 – U.S. Vice President George Bush met with representatives of independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh to answer questions about the Iran-Contra affair.

2002 – Thomas Junta, 44, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for beating another man to death at their son’s hockey practice. The incident occurred on July 5, 2000.

January 11, 1775

First elected Jew in the New World

Francis Salvador, the first Jew to be elected in the Americas, takes his seat on the South Carolina Provincial Congress. In June 1776, Salvador, a Patriot, became known as the “Southern Paul Revere” when he warned Charleston, South Carolina, of the approaching British naval fleet. Thanks to Salvador’s intelligence information, Fort Sullivan in Charleston harbor was able to prepare for the British attack, and the half-completed fort successfully repelled an attack by a British fleet under Sir Peter Parker.

On August 1 of the same year, while leading a militia group under the general command of Major Wilkinson, Salvador and his men were ambushed by a group of Cherokees and Loyalists near present-day Seneca, South Carolina. Salvador was wounded and then scalped by the Cherokees. He was the first recorded Jewish soldier killed in the American War for Independence.

“First elected Jew in the New World.” 2009. The History Channel website. 11 Jan 2009, 02:36 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4667.

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