World War II POW Camp
Location: East Parrish Street (US 301 Hwy North), Statesboro
Coordinates: 32.462132, -81.770346
Marker Type: Bulloch County Historical Society
WORLD WAR II POW CAMP
In 1943-45, German and Italian prisoners of war harvested peanuts for Bulloch County's farmers, as well as pulling corn, collecting pecans, cutting cane, and helping with general farm jobs. Georgia was suffering from a severe labor shortage with so many local men serving in the armed forces. The Fourth Service Command authorized POWs for use in areas with the most acute shortage. On this location in 1944, the war department built the camp to house approximately 150 POWs and soldiers with the 475th Military Police Escort Guard Company during the harvest season. The prisoners worked for 12-14 hour days and were paid between 40-80 cents per day in canteen benefits. In 1944, they harvested 57,000 stacks of peanuts and 110,000 1945.
Peanuts were an unfamiliar crop to the Germans and Italians and some hope to take seeds home with them after the war. The local paper noted that though they worked together, Bulloch Contains found “themselves more tolerant of those foreign elements whom we may have therefore regarded merely as monsters with horns.” Labor remained scarce in 1946 and without POWs, some Bulloch County farmers invested in the first mechanical harvesters for peanuts.
Supported by the Jack N & Addie D. Averitt Foundation
The Bulloch County Historical Society’s historical markers are funded by the
Jack N. & Addie D. Averitt Foundation.