Iowans learn about local prisoners of war

Dr. Chadd Timm told the story of prisoners in war in Iowa.

Wapello County residents gathered at Blakesburg Methodist Church on Sunday to hear Dr. Chad Timm talk about prisoners of war during World War II that were located in Iowa.

Timm is an associate professor at Simpson college. He was invited to speak in Blakesburg Sunday afternoon by the Humanities Iowa Speakers Bureau. More than 50 people showed up to hear Timm explain what life was like in Iowa for German, Italian and Japanese prisoners of war in the 1940s.

“It’s a story where Iowans develop, some cases close relationships with German, Italians and eventually Japanese prisoners of war that you wouldn’t expect in a time of war.” Timm said.

Some attendees, including Ottumwa resident, Sally Mack, had no idea Iowa housed prisoners of war during World War II. Mack says she was taken aback by the way Iowans welcomed these foreigners.

“They treated the German prisoners of war in such a way that I am so proud that I live in Iowa,” Mack said.

Timm says this story truly reflects Iowa’s values and compassion.

“I think we can take the message of that story – which is you’re the enemy, I see you as the enemy and we work together and I see you as a human being who’s a 19-year-old teen who was drafted to fight in a war that maybe you didn’t want to fight in or support in the first place – and that human connection is important,” Timm said.

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