Prisoners of War in New Mexico Agriculture
Abstract of Interview
Rex Kipp, Jr.
TAPE NUMBER: RG2000-104
OF BIRTH: December 4, 1933
OF INTERVIEW: July 31, 2000
OF INTERVIEW: E. J. Short and Sons, Lordsburg, New Mexico
OF INTERVIEW: NMF&RHM__x___OTHER___________
OF TAPES: One
ABSTRACTED: April 27, 2001
OF RECORDING (SPECIFY): Good
AND CONTENT NOTE: Recalls prisoners of war employed on his parentsí ranch
during World War II.
(IMPORTANT TOPICS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE):
Kip, Jr. was born in Lordsburg, New Mexico in 1933 and has lived there all his
life. During World War II his
family ranched. In the 1940s, because of the war imposed labor shortage they
hired prisoners of war (POWs) as ranch laborers. They paid the army five dollars
a day for POW labor. The POWs came
in groups of five; they would be taught a task, then the camp would send out a
new group of POWs to learn. The commandant accepted requests for workers,
sending them to work with an armed guard.
guards had a good relationship with the POWs; when one wanted to ride a horse,
he gave his gun to a POW to hold. Except
for the few Nazis, the POWs seemed docile.
hired largely during the branding season for about six months of the year over a
period of two years, 1943 and 1944. The family gave the POWs little perks,
tobacco, for example, and fed them The POWs flanked, roped, and dragged calves
during branding, and built corrals. One
corral still stands.
Italian POWs said that Rommel whipped them badly. During their retreat they
threw away their weapons but kept their guitars, violins and harmonicas as they
the POW camp, they were treated very well although they had no air conditioning
in their barracks. The family was
instructed not to talk to the POWs, fraternize, which may be why they kept
changing the groups sent. Occasionally, the family also hired migrant workers.
Dayís Lazy B ranch (Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day OíConnorís father)
also employed POWs.
camp was well administered. He recalls one attempted escape of eighteen or
nineteen POWs trying to get to Argentina.
were used to quarry limestone in the region which was used for their camp
sidewalks, and later taken and used by people in town for various things.
grandmother wrote an article about Italian POWs working at the ranch for the New
Return to list of oral history consultants
send questions or comments to: email@example.com
Rio Grande Historical Collections * New Mexico State University Library MSC 3475 * P.O. Box 30006 * Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003-3006 ** Telephone: 505-646-3839 FAX: 505-646-7477