ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

American enthusiasm from a German soldier captured during World War II

Updated on November 16, 2015

Recently I read about the the horrible atrocities committed by Hitler's Nazis at death camps during World War II. Many of the Allied Forces taken prisoner by Nazis also were in some instances not treated well. In stark contrast to how the German forces treated many prisoners of war (POWs) I wanted to relate a story of a German soldier taken prisoner by allied forces towards the end of the campaign in Europe. His name was Robert and his impression and views of America might surprise you as they did me years ago when I met him.

First let me tell you how I met Robert. I was fortunate enough to live in Germany for several years. To be exact, I lived in a beautiful little Bavarian spa town about 35 miles southeast of Munich called Bad Aibling. I had an American made car in while in Germany. It was a Ford that for some reason kept breaking the radial belts on the rear tires. Maybe I was driving to fast on the Autobahn? Ford told me I should take it in to the local authorized Ford mechanic located near Bad Aibling in a little burg called Kolbemoor. That's where I met Robert.

Bavarian Flag
Bavarian Flag | Source

At the shop, I was greeted with a hearty Gruss Gott, the traditional greeting in Bavaria, by a mechanic when I entered the door. Then upon being recognized as American, an even heartier hello! The shop was a family business and luckily, even though I had two years of German under my belt, they spoke English. I soon discovered that the mechanic was the owner's son. I related the problem I was having with car. He wrote a few things down and told me they would take a look. Then out of the blue he asked me if I was an American. I told him I was and I lived in Bad Aibling working in the United States Air Force. He kind of smiled and said " my father was a POW in America". Uh oh!

So my first thought was, "I am screwed"! These people do not like Americans and I am probably going to get charged an arm and a leg for the repairs! Or worse my car would be sabotaged and I would have a horrible fiery crash on the autobahn! Maybe that was extreme, but I was thinking worst case scenario here! The mechanic walked away into the office area and I could hear him talking in German to some one. The next thing I hear is a booming voice saying, " An American?! An American?!! Where is he?!" Now I am thinking bigger uh oh! Maybe I was on track with the fiery car crash!


An older German man then came out of the office, and boomed in very good English "You are an American?" I answered yes and he enthusiastically said, "America, I love America!" Not quite what I expected! This man was Robert and every time i went there after that he treated me like his best friend! Over time I learned why Robert loved America even though he spent several years as a POW.

Robert was a young man during WW II and was drafted into service to be an infantryman. I don't really know the specifics of where and how it happened, but he was taken prisoner by allied forces sometimes toward the end of the war in Europe. Most likely he served in the Afrika Corps and was captured in 1943 along with a large number of troops serving in North Africa. Like about 400,000 other axis prisoners he soon found himself being processed and transported to prisoner of war camps in the U.S. The fact that he ended up in Texas makes it even more likely he was captured in North Africa. According to the Geneva Convention POWs had to be housed in conditions based on the conditions they fought under. He ended up at a destination about 11 miles southwest of Abilene, Texas named Camp Barkeley. This camp was activated in February 1944 and at one time had over 800 German POWs interred at the site.

He started out at the camp on a work party doing manual labor and got to interface occasionaly with locals. The locals treated all the prisoners extremely well. He claimed the living conditions were actually better than what he had experienced in the German army! Good food, nice barracks, and he was treated with respect. Robert was soon "promoted" to driving a food truck delivering meals to the work parties at various locations around and outside the camp. A job which he told me loved because it was a "kuchen" job! He was less restricted and the guards and locals began to talk to him more. He saw little by little the freedoms Americans enjoyed and somewhere along the line he realized the Nazi propaganda about Americans wasn't true. I'm sure the Americans exposed to Robert also realized that all Germans were not Nazis. Robert was a very personable guy and I am sure he was like a German ambassador to Texas whenever he got the chance to talk about his beloved Bavaria.

Germany | Source

I asked Robert once if he ever tried to escape? I got a loud, "Baaaaaaaaah!!!" and a dismissing wave of the hand! He said, "where would I go to? Back to Germany?" So I never mentioned it again. As for Germany, the end of the war came and several months later Robert was sent to Fort Hood for evidently some type of out processing. There he was asked if he would like to participate in a special program for prisoners being repatriated. He agreed and was given the opportunity to learn about the automotive business. This is where Robert truly realized his love for America's people and opportunity. He stayed in America for several years and learned many skills that would help him succeed in life. Robert eventually returned to his home in Germany and owned and operated his own automotive business turning what could have been a very negative experience into a big positive. He believed America had enabled him to be prosperous and was thankful.


Despite coming to America under less than desirable circumstances, Robert realized what America was all about.... Freedom and opportunity. Two things he truly appreciated after growing up during the height of Nazi Germany. Although I only knew Robert a short time, and my interaction with him was short, I learned not to assume everyone will have the viewpoint that you might expect! He seized what made America great and took it back to his homeland. If a German soldier held captive in the middle of Texas can develop that type of love for America, it should really be no challenge for those of us born and raised here. I still remember his enthusiasm for America to this day!

A Goood video Segment on German POWs in America


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 years ago

      Touching article. There was also a POW camp in San Antonio. The German prisoners there had a wonderful time. There was a mass escape once. The 20 escapees went to the nearby amusement park. The guards caught 7 of them on the roller coaster.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Im thankful for the post. Great. cckeedeafbca

    • Budman610 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Ohio

      I had never seen the videos until I wrote the hub. Yes, very interesting videos. Thanks for reading.

    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Such a great hub to remind us of so many truths. There are a lot of reasons to be glad to see this post with the interesting videos on German POWs in American. Hope it is the beginning of many like it! Voted up.

    • Budman610 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks fro reading!

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 

      7 years ago from Birmingham, England

      What a great story. It serves as a timely reminder, that all soldiers are just soldiers, regardless of nationality. It actually reminds me of a guy I met in Jersey many years ago. He'd been one of the German soldiers who occupied the island in 1940. When the war ended, he simply stayed put. He was such a nice guy, his name was Hans and he spoke English fluently. Voted up.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Budman - Thank you for telling us about Robert, his experiences in America, and your experiences in Germany. I bet there were a lot of Roberts, but we so seldom hear those stories. Great Hub. SHARING

    • Budman610 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Ohio

      Yes, that is what it's all about. Not everyone was a Nazi. This was an eye opener for me. I had a pre-concieved opinion about Germans from the war. I'm sure having been in the military for 20 years there are people that have pre-concieved notions about me.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 

      7 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      I enjoyed reading this article very much, budman610. It's good to be reminded there are human beings on both sides. Voted up and interesting.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)