This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Cross Section of America’s World War II Prison Camps: The Lives of Axis Prisoners of War in Alabama, Their Memory, and Their Place on the Historical Landscape




Owings, David

Type of Degree





The experience of nearly half a million Axis prisoners of war held by the United States on American soil, their impact on this nation, and their legacy has been largely forgotten and neglected. The state of Alabama held a significant number of these prisoners in four camps across the state. These camps provide a sample that frames and highlights the national prisoner of war program. Through this example, one can see the lasting legacy of the prisoner of war program and its role in transforming the United States and forever changing the lives of thousands of prisoners, guards, and local citizens. An analysis of the Alabama camps also reveals how memory is constructed and how one narrative can ultimately emerge as the dominant story. In addition, a survey of the landscape reveals the importance of place and its role in the process of remembering and forgetting.