After a two-hour drive, we stopped in the middle of a dense forest in front of a small wooden house. It seemed to have been a summer restaurant. Along one side of the house was a narrow terrace, in front of it a small open space. On the ground floor was a large room with several field cots, next to it was a smaller room with a larger table and several chairs, and behind were a sideboard and a kitchen. Barely had we arrived, than the house was encircled by sentries. An automobile arrived with two older German POW’s, who, on the orders of a sergeant, unloaded many provisions and set up the kitchen. An officer told us “You will remain here several days. Leaving the house is forbidden.” For four days we stayed in this golden cage with the luxurious meals, which we had only enjoyed in peacetime before. The two German cooks came from a large POW camp nearby, which we never saw. They praised the good treatment and excellent food they received there.
Guarded by an officer and 12 sentries, we began our journey south along the Ohio and Mississippi Valley in a comfortable Pullman car. We crossed gigantic flooded areas. Countless deserted houses and farms were mired in the yellow-clay waters. The trees of the great forests rose from the muddy waters like the shoots of a rice plant. What an expanse of land. What fruitful soil for farming and stockbreeding and managed forestry! 480 million people could be fed and earn a living in the United States, according to experts I once heard.
CAMP CLINTON, MISSISSIPPI, USA
After a two-day ride we arrived in Jackson, capital of the State of Mississippi and a half hour later we were standing in the reception barracks of the POW camp, Camp Clinton. The Americans had built a camp for about 4000-5000 NCO’s and enlisted men in a hilly, occasionally wooded area. It was built on a large scale, as Americans are prone to do, because of the richness of the land. A branch railway line led from the camp to the Jackson-Vicksburg line. Spacious wooden barracks on concrete posts stood with their gables abutting the paved streets on both sides. Everything was cared for. There were kitchen and mess hall barracks, barracks with recreation rooms and a well-furnished chapel. Later the prisoners built an athletic field, tennis courts and an open-air theater. Outside the camp, the accommodations for the guard company was located as well as a large workshop complex for locksmithing, carpentry, blacksmithing, auto and machine repair. The camp was surrounded by a high double wire fence, with watchtowers with windows every 80 meters. Around the outside of the wire fence, a road of slag and cinders served the guard vehicles on patrol. About 300 meters from the main camp and connected to it by a path enclosed by high wire fences. It was elliptical in shape 300 x 150 meters, with a cinder road looping through the generals’ camp, which contained a number of large and small barracks. Some of them lay in the shadow of a few individual oak trees; others were out in the burning sun of the 32nd parallel to which we were not accustomed.
As in the enlisted men’s camp, we had a kitchen and mess hall and a canteen with a common recreation room. Two larger barracks housed officers and medical officers. 2 generals lived in each small barracks building. Each building had a small practical stove stoked from the outside, a bath with a shower, and essential, because of the heat, a refrigerator. About 30 generals and 12 officers occupied the camp. The most senior was General von Arnim. A detachment of German soldiers from the main camp was assigned to the generals’ camp for support. They arrived in the morning and returned to their camp in the evening. For this they received a small remuneration and the same food as we did, in our dining hall. For breakfast and dinner, roll call was taken by an American officer. Otherwise we were left alone, completely, so that everyone could pursue their chosen activities.On the west side of the camp, a giant relief model covering 600 hectares was being planned to depict the drainage area of the Missouri, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and their largest tributaries. The regulation of these mighty rivers was to be studied through this relief model. Hydrological engineers supported by German engineers and technicians worked on the plans, while thousands of German POW’s carried out the practical work with earth-moving machines.