Prisoners of War in New Mexico Agriculture
Abstract of Interview
Jacqueline Ethel Wood Williams
TAPE NUMBER: RG2000-148
OF BIRTH: September 24, 1936
OF INTERVIEW: November 8, 2000
OF INTERVIEW: New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Las Cruces, New
OF INTERVIEW: NMF&RHM___x__OTHER_______
OF TAPES: One
ABSTRACTED: December 12, 2000
OF RECORDING (SPECIFY): Good
AND CONTENT NOTE: Childhood remembrances of World War II prisoner of war camp
on Melendres Street, Las Cruces.
(IMPORTANT TOPICS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE):
ONE, SIDE ONE:
Williams remembers her father taking her to the World War II prisoner of war
camp on Melendres Street to watch the German prisoners do chores like mowing
grass. No photographs could be taken; there were signs forbidding it. Mrs.
Williams remembers everything being green at the camp: uniforms, buildings,
grass, and huge weeping willows.
consultant remembers her father being “irate” about the good care the
prisoners of war received in this country while many U.S. soldiers, according to
the daily news, were being mistreated in prison camps overseas. She also said
her father felt the POWs held in this country were being treated better than the
U.S. citizens. He felt while he was working hard, was on ration stamps, and was
often in need of tires, shoes and gas, the POWs “seemed to be livin’ the
life of luxury.”
Las Cruces residents also would park at the prison camp and watch the POWs while
they went about their business. Mrs. Williams wondered if visits to the camp
instilled a “love of World War II [history]” she has had all her life.
She said she was not sad, but glad, to see the Germans imprisoned, and believes that attitude probably reflected her father’s ideas.
Williams also saw the German prisoners working at the Tharp farm on Valley
Drive. She was in about the second and third grades at the time.
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