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POW camp graffiti in North Carolina


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I am on the board of directors for the Camp Butner Society and the future Camp Butner museum, a non-profit dedicated to telling the history of the area during WWII. The Camp Butner Society has been working to preserve not only the story of the over 40,000 US soldiers who passed through the gates of Camp Butner North Carolina on their way to Europe, but the untold story of the numerous German and Italians who were prisoners of war here.

Recently, it was brought to my attention that one of these prisoners decided to make their mark while on a work detail in 1945. A cement and stone culvert was built near some large warehouses (which still stand today) and the wet cement must have been too tempting to leave untouched.

Now, almost seventy years later, that unknown soldier's mark is still here. It has survived many North Carolina freezes and thaws, hurricanes and exposure to the elements but we know that someday it will crack and disappear forever.

Since this great part of history is so unique, I knew I had to find a way to preserve it forever so I turned to making an exact copy of it. After searching the web for the best material to make molds, I was directed to a company that specializes in mold and cast materials. Luckily they had a distributer in town so I bought some.

The copy will be painted to more closely match the actual cement and when finished I will be sure to post a picture here.

I am reaching out to anyone who might have knowledge of any Germans who spent some time at Camp Butner. In a perfect world, we would love to add some artifacts to the collection of some of these soldiers, but even a photo and biography of a former prisoner would be welcome.

Feel free to check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CampButnerSociety and like us too! We can't let the story of our veterans go untold!

Mike

Edited by mmerc20
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Nicely done, Mike...

Reminds me of a day when whilst having one of the many German bunkers open, during the summer months for visitors, this elderly gentleman came in and asked to see a certain part of the complex. His accent gave him away as being German and raised the level of intrigue. On entering the room he wanted to see he pointed to a small drawing of a 'Fleur-de-lis' (something we had always wondered about) on the concrete wall and said "I drew that when stationed here...I never thought it would survive". After that, many hours were spent getting as much information as possible on his time here in the islands during the occupation.

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During WWII, over 51,000 of the over 425,000 prisoners of war held in the United States were Italian. (ASF WD Monthly Progress Reports, sec. 11, Administration. Copy in Lewis, Prisoner of War Utilization, pp. 90-91). Of these, about 7,000 Italians and 8,000 Germans were sent to Utah (POW population lists (NARA RG389 Entry (A1) 458, Boxes 1444-1446).

After the war, the personnel files of all POWs were returned to the country for which they fought. The only remaining information for Italian POWs in our National Archives are one-line entries (for most) in a roster list from 31 March 1945 (see POW CD). Some of their interview sheets remain here (National Archives Record Administration), as well as some references in camp newsletters (state or college archives, usually). For Germans, the roster lists remaining here only show name and POW number.

To obtain personnel files for former Italian POWs, please write to:

Ten. Col. Fasullo

Ministero della Difesa

via Mattia Battistini, 113, 7 Piano

00167 Roma

Italy

I also suggest that you write to his local military tribunal office (for his town of birth) to acquire his complete military record (with a gap from his capture to his re-patriation). For each of the above, you'll need to send a letter of authorization along with a copy of your ID to show relationship.

To obtain personnel files for former German POWs, please write to:

Deutsche Dienstelle (WASt)

Postfach 51 06 57

D-13400 Berlin

Germany.

Hope the above helps.......................

Ed

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