It was early in September 1945 at the end of the Second World War and Clifton Veirs was reaching day’s end on his large dairy farm in Montgomery County, Maryland, when he noticed one of his farmhands missing – vanished. Werner Koehler had somehow mysteriously slipped off into the adjacent woods without anyone suspecting or noticing. The police were called, and the FBI moved in for the search.
Normally, such a disappearance would not have been a big deal, but Koehler was no ordinary farmhand; he was a soldier in the German Army, now a prisoner of war in the U.S. In no time, he was on the loose, an escapee on the run, just miles from our nation’s capital – Washington, D.C.
The amazing story: Koehler was only one of thousands of German POWs being held in small prison camps in Montgomery County, and at nearby Fort Meade, now headquarters for the National Security Agency. There were nearly a half-a-million German soldiers, along with some Italian and Japanese prisoners, held in specially-designed POW camps sprinkled around the country in all 50 states.
"Secret Workers of War" is the story of the German POWs held in America, and how the prisoners became a big part of supporting the war effort for America. Put to work as paid labor on the farms and in the factories, filling in for the manpower shortage created by the war.
"Secret Workers of War" coming soon.