20th Century, farming, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Prisoners of War

Moorhead

September 4, 1943 to 1946
One hundred fifty German POWs sit out the war at Camp Number One near Moorhead, a branch camp of the base camp at Algona, Iowa. Farmers short of help pay the government 40 cents an hour for their labor.

Camps were located in or near Ada, Bena, Bird Island, Crookston, Deer River, Fairmont, Faribault, Grand Rapids, Hollandale, Howard Lake, Montgomery, Moorhead, New Ulm, Olivia, Ortonville, Owatonna, Remer, Saint Charles, Warren, and Wells.*

During the span of World War II, approximately 425,000 German, Italian, and Japanese soldiers were taken as prisoners of war and held in the United States. Once in the U.S., the prisoners were disbursed to about 700 camps in 46 states. The prison network had roughly 150 larger base camps, and 500 smaller branch camps.** The vast majority of these POWs were Germans who surrendered in the battlefields of Italy or North Africa. Camp Algona, in Iowa, held about 10,000 of these German prisoners who were contracted to do agricultural labor in the Midwest.***

“It was all about farm labor. Because so many young American men were overseas fighting in the war, there was a severe worker shortage. That was particularly true for agriculture, which was not considered a high-priority industry. The government offered to supply POWs on a contract basis. In accordance with the Geneva Convention, the labor could not directly help the war effort or be dangerous. Many agriculture areas took advantage, including the Red River Valley.
So, farmers Henry Peterson and Paul Horn contracted for 150 POWs to work their vegetable farms. Army inspectors at first wanted to house the prisoners in a barn near the Red River on 12th Avenue south in Moorhead, but neighbors objected and so an onion warehouse on 21st Street near 4th Avenue North was selected.”****

Algona Branch Camp Number One was created in the spring of 1944 to accommodate Minnesota farmers Henry Peterson and Paul Horn. This area, known as the Red River Valley, was renowned for its’ potato and beet production. Regional historian Kenneth Dawes said, “Local growers were in a near panic” as to how to get the crop in, and also stated that POWs “literally saved the potato and beet harvest” in the wartime years.**

Many efforts were made to protect the humanity of these detainees at Camp One. They had a plethora of recreational activities to choose from: sports, woodworking and carving, art supplies, and books. The musically inclined even gave concerts of German music to their captors. They were granted the right to attend worship services or not as they saw fit.***

Though some locals thought that POWs were being “molly-coddled”, the general consensus was that our fair treatment of Germans would be passed on to American POWs in Europe.** Yet one wonders; “What was the response of these prisoners of war to their years of captivity in America? Hartmut Lang, the Boston consulate general of the Federal Republic of Germany, gives us an astonishing testimony; ”To a German soldier then, being taken prisoner by U.S. troops amounted to winning a ticket to peace and fair treatment.”**

Now we turn to You, the Emancipator of the Human Race, and Giver of All Human Rights and ponder these stories. We humbly recall Your words that reflect Your benevolence to all; including those in prison.

“Blessed is he whose help is the G-d of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his G-d, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- the Lord, who remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever, your G-d, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.” Psalm 146:5-10 NIV *****

We thank You today for these words of King David so long ago, and that they are forever true!

We confess to You today that we, as Americans and Minnesotans, were unable to avoid war with Nazi Germany in this era, and therefore, may have participated in the deaths of both enemies and innocents. Will You have mercy on this offense?

We confess to You today that we, as Your Church, may have failed to stand prayerfully with our brothers and sisters in Europe in spite of their subjugation and conscription to an evil Fascist dictatorship. Have we righteously hated, rejected, and opposed their government as American citizens, and somehow missed that many of the citizens of Germany were already spiritual captives of Giovanni Gentile; the father of the fascist ideology? ******

Conversely, we confess the judgments of Your Church in Europe towards the United States. Did they fail to see us also as members of Your Kingdom, or only as subjects of the political dominion of America?
Will You have mercy on Your Church and its common political and socio-economic idolatry?
Will You have mercy on Your Church and our shared misbeliefs towards each other during World War II, and taking the bait of self-righteousness held out by our common Deceiver?
Will You set us free from the pride that can assert itself within patriotism, and give make us an unpretentious United States and demütig Deutschland?

Lord, we thank You for this testimony of the character of Your human beings; whether a German POW or an American Minnesotan farmer! We are thankful for the example of Algona Camp Number One and the Peterson and Horn families. Somehow, they simultaneously held up the cause of justice as to the actions of their enemies while not judging their humanity. Yes, they were prisoners, but they were prisoners made in Your Image!

O, dear Father, we so desperately need this kind wise discernment; both here in the North Star state and abroad! Will You continue to bless us to be people who love their enemies and do good for them? Will You give us strong resolve to oppose evil and love what is good and life-giving?

Will You give Your Church the gift of recognizing our dual citizenship? Though we may experience varying degrees of captivity as citizens of our nation of origin, we are also the emancipated subjects of Your Heavenly State. We were all POWs of the Accuser of Humanity, yet You served our sentence for us so we could walk free! Hallelujah! Whether engaged in a outward political war or inward spiritual battle, give us Your eyes, sweet Jesus, to see You inside every POW until war is no more!

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 ESV ******

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/3953177-how-wwii-german-pows-fared-grand-forks
*** http://www.mnopedia.org/place/german-prisoners-war-camp-moorhead-1944-1946
**** https://www.inforum.com/opinion/columns/2725100-McFeely-German-POWs-right-here-in-Moorhead citing Piehl, Mark. “POWs work at Moorhead Truck Farm”. Clay County Historical Society, 1991, pp.15-17.
***** https://biblehub.com/psalms/146-1.htm
****** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Gentile
******* https://biblehub.com/proverbs/16-7.htm

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20th Century, History, Intercession, Mexican-American, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Mexican Community Organization

Unknown

1922
Mexican-Americans in St. Paul form the Anahuac Society. The organization sponsors social events and encourages participation in community affairs and the celebration of traditional Mexican holidays.*

Anahuac means “near the water” in Nahuatl, the ancient Aztec language spoken in Tenochtitlan, Mexico, so it is no surprise that it be transferred onto a home with many waters like Minnesota.** The Anáhuac Society established in Saint Paul was meant to provide a solid foundation for Latinos to survive in a new environment, as well as an institutional basis for organizing.*** Anahuac is also a small town in Texas which claims “the first armed confrontation between Anglo-Texans and Mexican troops, on June 10-12, 1832.”***

Some of Saint Paul’s first Latinos likely were driven north during this era due to the unrest of the Mexican Revolution or Revolución Mexicana. The corruption of the Diaz administration was challenged by Madero and Pancho Villa. Mexicans who fled this conflict found work first in the sugar beet industry of Minnesota.

Let’s observe with You, Lord, and see where this prayer leads. We see a people displaced by war or revolt seeking a new way of life. We see a bold quest for freedom in spite of the rigors of farm labor.

Will You forgive the judgments made between groups during the Mexican Revolution, and their transference through these pioneers to Minnesota? All immigrants to Minnesota have carried our historical baggage here. We have viewed our neighbors and government through the lens of both our beliefs and misbeliefs shaped by the pains and experiences of our countries of origin. We give You our dirty glasses this day Lord, will You give us new eyes for those around us who have also overcome to reside in this place?

Will You remember the hearts of these new arrivals, and their commitment to stay and build community? Will You bless their progeny to see their wisdom? Will You bless those who have chosen to live here humbly in peace, even rather than be warriors in their homeland?

Will You bless the contributions of Latinos to our state, especially through generations of untiring work in agriculture? Will You remove the present day judgments of those who work with their hands in the field? Will You show us new solutions to the problems of guest workers and illegal immigrants?

We are drowning in judgment over the plight of guest workers and illegal immigrants in the present tense. We have refused, to often, to even hear the thoughts of our neighbor on the subject. Our Democratic friends have judged their Republican next door to be: racist, haters of brown people, and living in a bubble of white privilege. Our Republican friends may believe in the human rights of illegals, but that civil rights are belong only to citizens. They have judged their Democratic friends of being incapable of rationality, over emotional, and false accusers of those who love our laws and hate lawlessness. In any case, will You forgive us whether we are those who judge, or those who counter-judge our neighbor in Minnesota? We invite You to be our Judge and Justice for all Minnesotans. Will You make Anahuac- Saint Paul a place that is lawful and just for all nations who love your laws of grace and truth?

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” **** Proverbs 16:32

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universidad_Anáhuac_México_Norte
**http://www.mnopedia.org/minnesotanos-latino-journeys-minnesota
***http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/travel/weekend-getaways/article/Twenty-four-hours-in-Anahuac-in-August-11943198.php

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