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 http://www.polk-fl.net/staff/teachers/tah/documents/floridaflavor/lessons/e-5.pdf:  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...

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

There was also a POW camp west of the Miami International Airport. My Dad and Uncle used to take me quail hunting in the area. Seems the old gardens the POWs had maintained kept providing peas and beans the birds loved.

ghostwriter33156 said...

WOW. My dad grew up in Miami and NEVER told me this. He told me about oil slicks and dead German sailors washing up on the beach..but this is interesting. Especially since my mom remembered swimming and sunning in Fuch's park, which always astounded us coz the ducks had made that water absolutely filthy by the time we saw it. She remembered it being crystal clear and how they would swim and then sun on the big rocks.

Thanks for teaching me something new!

SPerez said...

I knew about the POW's in the Dadeland area, but I didn't know exactly where. My husband and I used to go the theatre at that site all the time. We waited in the rain there for hours to see "The Empire Strikes Back" on opening night.

kendallseo said...
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Kia Hollywood said...

The old gardens the POWs had maintained kept providing peas and beans the birds loved.

Miami Mitsubishi Dealer said...

Really Valuable Information for Old Miami. Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed reading your blog. I learned of this POW camp while I was researching seminole villages in Kendall. Apparently there were a few seminole villages/camps well into the 20th century in Kendall, on 87th and Kendall, another west of baptist hospital and on what is now Indian Hammocks park. I found this areal image from 1938. It's a few years before the war but you can see on the top right where this POW camp would be a few years after this picture. http://www.smallco.net/kenwood/Kendal_1938_aerial_large.jpg

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing Planet of the Apes on a junior high school field trip at the old Dadeland Twin Theater. Did not know that was where the POW camp was, although I knew there was one out there somewhere.

Anonymous said...
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Miami mover said...

Hey great. I love Miami. I was born in this wonderful city and I grew up over here. I love it.

Cardinham | Killgrew said...

Its a very unknown aspect of our country not many knew about. I have seen digs at some places and they found some interesting metals, coins, etc.

Steve
C|K
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Radko Aleksandrov said...

Great. I love Miami. I as a mover in Florida have moved a lot of people into Miami.

Fat Bastardo said...

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Anonymous said...

I'm a veteran. I was sent overseas. I am proud I served my country, but..German WWII military POW's treated well, fed well, etc. while Japanese American civilians guilty of nothing had their homes, businesses taken and were forced into interment camps. Along with treatment of Native Americans and African Americans we have a shameful legacy too that I hope is never minimized in American history lessons because we own it as a nation and need to learn from it and never forget. Demonizing Muslims is not something we should being doing now. Shameful.