In 1944, the U.S. Army Air Base, in Houlton, Maine, in Aroostook, County, became the site of a Prisoner of War (POW) internment camp for German soldiers captured in North Africa and France. The POWs could not be forced to work, but they could volunteer. Those who wanted to work helped the local farmers harvest peas and pick potatoes and cut wood in the forest after harvest time during the winter. In September 1945, Aroostook County farmers decided to take advantage of this opportunity. My dad requested some prisoners to help with our potato harvest. When harvest time rolled around, eight young Germans would arrive by truck each morning about 7 o’clock to help us harvest our crop…with ONE guard. As a 13-year old boy, the arrival of German soldiers, was fearsome. My young mind was not too sure it was a good idea to have the “enemy” right here on our farm.
The Kennebec Historical Society’s November speaker, Henry (Hank) D. Lunn has been a resident of Camden since 1958 and a student of Maine history since his birth on a potato farm in Aroostook County. He graduated from the University of Maine with a major in history and government and has a M.Ed. in Counseling and School Administration. Mr. Lunn retired from public education with over 40 years of experience as a teacher, counselor and educational consultant in the schools of Maine. For the past several years, he has been delivering his “Living History” presentations to schools, historical societies, libraries, and community organizations.
The Kennebec Historical Society November presentation is co-sponsored by the Maine State Library and is free to the public (donations gladly accepted). The presentation will be followed by some light refreshments and take place on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, at 6:30 p.m., at the Maine State Library, located at 230 State Street in Augusta.