WWII Prisoner of War Camps in Texas

At the outset of the war, foreign prisoners of war were not a major consideration for the federal government, but as the war progressed, tens of thousands of foreign prisoners needed to be placed all over the United States.  At the height of the program, Texas had some three dozen prison camps.  They were located from as far north as Dalhart, as far west as El Paso, in the northeast to within a few counties of Texarkana to several on the Gulf Coast.  In all, it is estimated that the United States held between 400,000 and 500,000 prisoners with roughly 20% of them held in Texas camps.  The Geneva Convention provided that prisoners be moved to areas that were close to the climate where they were captured.  Accordingly, many of Texas’ prisoners of war were German prisoners who surrendered in North Africa and Texas was deemed to be an appropriate site for them.

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