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The Human Side of War: German POW’s at the Reading Airbase
November 9, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Discover the compassionate relationships that developed between German POW’s and a Civilian Contractor during WWII when the Reading Airbase maintained a camp for German prisoners of war, who served as workers at the airbase and on the farms around Berks County. Presented by Keith Heberling and Roger Rank.
From September, 1944 to February, 1946, the Reading Airbase maintained a camp for German prisoners of war, who served as workers at the airbase and on the farms around Berks County. Several of the POW’s were assigned to the Paint Shop which was operated by a civilian contractor, Roy Rank. The working relationship was one of mutual respect which soon developed into close friendships, one friendship lasting a lifetime. After the Germans left Reading, the correspondence with Rank continued and their letters, some very emotional, describe the uncertainty of the former prisoners as to when and if they would be allowed to go home, but then, the utter destruction they found in their home cities and the difficulty in merely surviving in a war-devastated country. However, in every letter they expressed gratitude for the kind treatment they received while here in Reading and for the continuing letters and frequent “care” packages that they received from their Friend in America.
This month’s history presentation will be followed by a special one-time exhibition of a local veteran’s “Combat Paper,” a special project that involves printing vetertan service photos on paper made from soldier uniforms.
No Tickets Required. All Second Saturday programs are “pay at the door.” $5.00 members, $8.00 non-members. Light Refreshments served at 9:30AM.
Off street parking available at 160 Spring Street, Reading.
All programs subject to change.
Berks History Center is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission