May 22, 2015

Nazi Summer Camp

Reporter Karen Duffin and her father were talking one day when, just as an aside, he mentioned the Nazi prisoners of war that worked on his Idaho farm when he was a kid. Karen was shocked ... and then immediately obsessed. So she spoke with historians, dug through the National Archives and oral histories, and uncovered the astonishing story of a small town in Alabama overwhelmed by thousands of German prisoners of war. Along the way, she discovered that a very fundamental question—one that we are struggling with today—was playing out 70 years ago in hundreds of towns across America: when your enemy is at your mercy, how should you treat them? Karen helps Jad and Robert try to figure out why we did what we did then, and why we are doing things so differently now.

Produced by Kelsey Padgett. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this podcast stated that the Nuremberg Laws and the Mississippi Black Code could be viewed side by side at a museum in Nuremberg. We were unable to confirm the existence of such an exhibit. We were also unable to confirm that the Nuremberg Laws were literally copied from the Mississippi Black Codes. The audio has been corrected to reflect this.

We've gathered more photos of Camp Aliceville here

Special thanks to:

Mary Bess Paluzzi, founding director of the Aliceville Museum 
John Gillum, current Director of the Aliceville Museum
Ruth Beaumont Cook, who wrote a great book about Aliceville
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