Sunday, April 1, 2012

Betcha Didn't Know...POWs in Miami

Have you seen this CompUSA across from Dadeland Mall?

Do you know what used to be there, a very long time ago?

...Yes, I know, The Dadeland Twin movie theater (with the Gold Triangle behind it)...but I mean even further back than that...

No clue?  Would you believe that on this spot was an old CCC work camp that was turned into a POW camp for captured German soldiers during the war?

Yup. It's true.  I remember my Dad telling me he would see soldiers taking POWs  to the rockpit at Fuch's Park to bathe.

Sadly, there is very little I could find about this little known bit of Kendall history.  There were two major camps for German POWs in Florida.  One was Camp Blanding and the other Camp Johnston.  The Kendall camp came under Camp Blanding.

From  One relatively unknown fact about Florida in the World War II era is that our state was home to 
over 10,000 German prisoners of war.  These men were often referred to as “guests” of Uncle 
Sam.  Having been captured while serving on U-boats off the Atlantic Coast, with the Afrika Corps 
in Tunisia, with the paratroops in Italy, or with the labor battalions in France, these POWs were 
among the 378,000 Germans held as prisoners in 45 of the then 48 states.

The German prisoners were treated VERY well...they were fed well, taught lessons in Democracy, could practice their religion, play sports, etc.  If only we had been treated as well by the Germans.

There was even a POW camp in ritzy Bal Harbour (before it was ritzy!).  The Bal Harbour Shops are where the camp used to be and the barracks were later turned into apartments!  Crazy stuff...

Austin's Dive Shop

Big Thanks to Melanie Aycock for sending me this picture she took of Austin's.

If anyone has any pictures they think might interest others, please send them on and I'll be more than happy to post them!