Freedom of Information Times


This page contains citations and links to books and journal articles on the internment of German American civilians in the United States during World War II.   

 

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from the Heart’s Closet: A Young Girl’s World War II Story, by Anneliese “Lee” Krauter.

 

This is a book which took a lifetime to tell. It spans two continents and the entire, intense period of the Second World War. It is the unbelievable life that “Lee” Krauter lived.

A seven-year-old girl, born in America, whose German parents have come to experience the dream that the Statue of Liberty promised, finds her life in tatters with the coming of war. With her father accused of being a Nazi, she, her mother and her brother attempt to hold the family together. As they experience life in an internment camp in Texas and repatriation to Germany just as bombs began to fall near the end of the war, the young girl—Anneliese—calls on the reserves of courage, ingenuity, hope and love that her remarkable parents have taught her, and survives.

But for what? The most compelling part of the book details mistreatment and betrayal as the family flees to escape being caught in the “Russian Zone.”

The scene changes as the time of conflict ends. Fear is replaced by expectation—and forgiveness. The story becomes a lively and interesting depiction of life in Post-war Germany, full of many unforgettable “characters.” Romance turns into a fairy-tale marriage with her own Joe, life on an Air Force Base causes moments of humor, and finally all of the spunky, determined family returns to a new life, full of hope in the United States. This fast-moving but tenderly told story will hold a reader’s attention to the last page, as it moves excitedly through scenes ranging from Hamburg to Hoosierdom.” The Schatzi Press, McCordsville, IN 2005. (Foregoing narrative taken from the Schatzi Press at http://www.theschatzipress.com)


Loyalty on Trial: One American's Battle with the FBI, Erik V. Wolter with Robert J. MastersLoyalty on Trial provides a case study of how the government responded to what it perceived to be disloyal German American citizens during WWII, which parallels the way the government acts today as it struggles to find a balance between safeguarding civil liberties and assuring national security.  The author offers an analysis of the issues raised then and now with a careful comparison of what is at stake for all Americans.

This book is available by calling 1-877-288-4737 or visiting http://www.iUniverse.com


Where the Clouds Meet the Water by Contag, Kimberly E. and James A. Grabowska, follows the historical journey of the German Ecuadorian widower, Ernst Contag, and his four young children from their home in the South American Andes to Nazi Germany in 1942. Blacklisted as an enemy alien, Ernst Contag and his children are forcibly repatriated to the country of Ernst's grandparents as part of a diplomatic exchange arranged by the United States' State Department and cooperating countries.  In Nazi Germany, Ernst and his children must deny their Ecuadorian past and learn to live as Germans.  The Contag family strives to keep the ray of hope in their hearts when the Nazi oath of "blood and honor" leads to fear, abandonment, and death.  The children and their father navigate an ever-shifting horizon as they face despair and fear in internment and refugee sites, separation, devastation and loss in Germany (1942-45), hunger and hopelessness in post-war France (1945-46), and hostility in their own Andean homeland.  Through it all, the strength of family serves as the glue that holds them all together.

The book is available at Borders Books, Barnes 'n Noble and through Inkwater (www.inkwaterpress.com). Inkwater Press, 2004.  ISBN 1-59299-073-8


The Misplaced American by Ursula Potter (Ursula Vogt Potter), published by and available through 1stBooks.com  This story begins on December 9,1941, when Karl Vogt, a German national residing in the United States, was abruptly taken from his home near Plaza, Washington by agents of the F.B.I. and eventually sent to internment camps located in North Dakota, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and finally Montana. For nearly two years he was not told what the “evidence” was against him and he was never told who his accusers were. Left behind on the family farm, and also subjected to harassment by the United States government, were his wife, Elsie, and his two young children, all American citizens. Meanwhile, in war-torn Germany, Karl’s father and siblings endured and survived the horrors of the Nazi regime and the devastation of World War II.  In the end, this is really a story about enduring love---the unconditional love of God; the love of a husband and wife for each other; the sustaining love of family members separated by the worst of circumstances; and also, amazingly, the love that Karl and Elsie continued to have for the United States, a country whose government betrayed them in the most onerous way.


"Enemies, by John Christgau, A new edition ENEMIES has been released by iUniverse.com.  It's available through their website, as well as the major chain bookstores.  This book, one of the first, if not the first book, to open the door to many researchers and others, noting that others, besides Japanese Americans were interned in the United States during the Second World War.


 

Art's book, The Prison Called Hohenasperg: An American boy betrayed by his Government during World War II,  Universal Publishers (uPublish.com), FL., 1999.  ISBN 1-58112-832-0.  A synopsis of the book is included at the foregoing link. [6-3-99]   To learn more about Hohenasperg click here

Click here»  Reviews of The Prison Called Hohenasperg...



Arthur D. Jacobs is the coeditor with Joseph E. Fallon of the World War Two Experience, The Internment of German-Americans Volume IV of the five volume German-Americans in the World Wars. This work is published by K.G. Saur, Munich, Germany, 1995. This volume is in three sections:

  1. From suspicion to internment: U.S. Government policy toward German-Americans, 1939-1948
  2. Government preparation for and implementation of the repatriation of German-Americans, 1943-1948
  3. German-American camp newspapers: Internees' view of life in internment

The documents for this work were obtained as the result of more than ten years of research. The majority of the material in this volume was obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration, Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A few of the documents were obtained from the private files of former internees. The research of this work was enhanced by the help from former internees, Americans of German heritage. The research continues. It is a slow process because the time it takes for many of the government agencies to respond to Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FOI/PA) request.


WORLD WAR II INTERNMENT COLLECTION AT ACADEMY, U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colorado



Undue Process, The Untold Story of America's German Alien Internees by Arnold Krammer the author of the highly acclaimed Nazi Prisoners of War in America.  Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield, New York, 1997

Professor Arnold Krammer's book, Undue Process, has been published in the German language.  Die Internierten Deutschen, Feindliche Ausländer in den USA 1941 - 1947Universitas Verlag Tübingen, 1998.
  ISBN 3-924-898-24-3


The serious student of internment of German Americans in the United States during World War II, should read Leslie V. Tischauser's book, The Burden of Ethnicity: The German Question in Chicago, 1914-1941, Garland Publishing, New York, 1990.


PILGRIMS OF WAR, A novel by Carl Veno and future motion picture,

A story based on real events from history.

It's 1941, the Japanese have just attacked Pearl Harbor and those Italian American and German American and Japanese American families are being sent to US internment camps. Amid this upheaval is Doctor Magdalena Russo, an Italian doctor on a passenger ship caught in the conflict. She would spend the next three years in internment camps. Her struggle to get back to her homeland takes her on a voyage of confinement, loneliness, fear and sometimes love.



Journals

Essay RebuttalThis link contains a rebuttal to a Review Essay by Jeffrey Sammons in the Winter 1998 issue of the German Quarterly, a publication of the American Association of Teachers of German.



Lingua Franca in its October 1998 issue published an article by Vicki Hsueh entitled, The Enemy Within.  Our comments concerning Hsueh's article may be found at Open Letter to the Editor of Lingua Franca .



The capricious nature of the so-called 'Selective' Internment of German Enemy Aliens: the strange but true, and also more typical than you want to believe story of German-Jewish émigré Kurt Sanger. A recent [5-10-98] paper presentation by Professor John Heitmann.


 

The Censored History of Internment Reprinted from the February 1998 issue of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.


Years of Silence, reprinted from the Summer 1997, University of Dayton Quarterly



Updated November 17, 2012