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From the Archives

German POWs

Friedrich Biallas.jpg

Friedrich Biallas

Friedrich Biallas was captured by British troops in December, 1943 in Italy. On the journey to America aboard a Liberty ship, Biallas remembers seeing a lyric tenor, a fellow captive who had once performed in the German opera circuit. The show even attracted the allied guards, who paid to see with highly valued cigarettes.

Biallas was first taken to Camp Atlanta in Nebraska, then transferred to Camp Clarinda, Iowa, and finally to Camp Algona. There Biallas helped pick asparagus and did other farm work. With his earnings he purchased a violin at the exchange, and joined the camp orchestra. Despite several encounters with poison ivy, Biallas' experiences in the PW camps were generally positive, and he felt well treated.

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