Twenty-six solitary headstones are lined up In a section of Fort Custer National Cemetery. They mark the graves of German Prisoners of War that died in Michigan while being held in POW camps. Sixteen of the men were killed on October 31st, 1945 when their truck pulled in front of a train. The men were returning from working in a beet field in Blissfield Michigan, The violent crash killed the german men and Pfc Edward B. Loughrin who was assigned to guard the men. He was buried in his hometown of Cadillac Michigan.
The rest of the Germans buried at Fort Custer National Cemetery died of natural causes other than one who was killed when a wire snapped while on work detail. Michigan had approximately 30 POW camps during WWII. Most of the men were captured Germans from Africa. They worked the fields and lumbermills and most were model prisoners. For most, being a POW working in the fields was better than being shot at in the war. Many of the men emigrated back to the US after the war.
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