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Prisoner of War Camp ~ Seboomook, MaineBack to History
World War II brought an increased demand for paper, which causes an increased demand for pulp wood, but there was a labor shortage in the woods during this time due to the men in the war. To help alleviate the shortage of manpower, four Prisoner of War Camps were assigned to Maine. Great Northern Paper Co. had an arrangement with the U.S. Army for one such POW Camp at Seboomook Farm. Around 250 prisoners from General Rommel's Afrika Korps, the German elite, were brought to Boston by boat in March or April 1944. From there they were transported by train to Rockwood where 10-wheeled canvas covered trucks brought them to Seboomook. Each truck had 30 prisoners and one guard.
At Seboomook, a double barb-wire fence surrounded the compound with four guard towers, one at each corner. Each tower was equipped with high-powered spotlights and 30-caliber machine guns and a guard on duty 24 hours a day. The horse barn was converted into living quarters for the prisoners with toilet and laundry facilities in the basement. The potato house was converted into a mess hall for the prisoners with the kitchen in the lower level and the dining area upstairs. The carraige house was made into a recreation room for the Germans. The blacksmith shop was converted into an infirmary on the first floor and doctors quarters on the upper floor. Other buildings were built to house U.S. Troops and guards. Officers were housed in the farmhouse outside the compound. Some U.S. Troops and their wives rented rooms for the summer months at the nearby Seboomook Hotel.
The prisoners worked in crews of 25 men with one guard and an interpreter to cut 4-foot pulp wood and yard it with horses. These men took good care of their horses to see that their harness was not chafing, and that they were not overloaded. After they were trained, each man was responsible for one cord each day. Crews worked at Seven Mile Hill and at Burbank under the supervision of a Great Northern foreman and a Great Northern straw boss. Work was for 7-hours a day, 6 days a week. They were transported to the work sites, about 7-miles away, by trucks, and their noon meals were delivered to them. The prisoners were fed very well and were paid 80 cents a day.
The Prisoner of War Camp at Seboomook was closed in the Spring of 1946.Back to History
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