How did allies handle POWs?

When the Brits or Americans took massive numbers of POWs in, say, North Africa, what did they do with them? How did they handle food, shelter, water, sanitation and guarding them?


Good question!
Most POWs were shipped off to the USA to work in cotton fields as in other times was done by the men of the likes of the i.g. Tuskagee pilots for instance, heroes with colour imho🙏
They were well treated and some even never came back to Germany, especially if their home was in the GDR…mostly they could roam freely even because they were not a threat anymore and also were better fed and treated then in their precious Wehrmacht😉


If you don’t mind Wikipedia, there is an overview of how western Allies treated POWs here -


All POWs were returned to their home country after the war and almost of those held in Canada returned to Canada after the war which is the highest of all allied countries that held POWs. This was due to the treatment they received in Canada and many struck lifelong relationships with locals surrounding the camps. What isn’t well known is that several of the camps POWs could basically come and go throughout the day as they often were put to work in logging camps, farms and ranches and often willingly did these jobs and were well treated by both their captors and it was not uncommon for them to eat dinners with the families for whom they worked for.


Mark Felton as usual has an excellent vid where he dispels a dubious myth which was even carried by some German museums.

Incidentally my grandfather was in the arbeitseinsatz but initially picked up as a POW Pattons 3rd. He always talked about the eggs floating in fat he got. Instead of the small piece of black bread a day of dubious quality. He was realesed a few days later when interviewed by a Flemish speaking US serviceman :+1:


About a 10 minute walk from where I’m sitting is the site of the “Battle of Bowmanville” in 1942, where German POWs protested against being shackled in retaliation for Canadian POWs being shackled after the failure of Operation Jubilee (the raid on Dieppe, which resulted in several thousand Canadians wounded and captured by the Germans).


Excellent is right! Just when I think I know everything about WW2, Felton comes up with another gem. Thanks!


In Denmark we are trying in these years to deal with the story of the 250.000 civilian German refugees that arrived at the end of the war. Many fled from the Russians and a part of these were soldieres from Denmark and Norway who were just there when the war ended with no place to go. I guess they were not seen as POWs, but just asked to go home?

There was a high mortality among small children, and in hindsight more could have been done. In the summer of 2022 a museum covering this part of our story will open:

There are the same stories as with the POWs: Everything from human kindness to brutality, a seek for revenge and a “You started the war” mentality. And also life long friendships.

Most postwar interviews with German solideres and refugees speak kindly of their treatment in Denmark during and after the war. I guess Denmark got through the war with minimum scars, and I read the British troops was marveled to see an intact country in may 1945 with no battle damage.

As I have mentioned before, Danes are still kind of ashamed of how lightly we were affected by the war, because we had plenty of food, while the dutch were starving.

And that is the foundation of our present day global commitment of human aid and military forces where it is needed.