An interesting story about a little-known facet of German POW life in the USA. I especially liked the last paragraph.
"In 1944, a hunt for Nazi escapees Up North
It was a routine bed check. That is, until a note was found on the bunk where a German prisoner was supposed to be asleep Up North in a Minnesota lumber camp housing Nazi prisoners of war near the shores of Lake Winnibigoshish.
A second bed, belonging to Nazi Cpl. Heinz Schymalla, 22, was also empty at 9:45 p.m. on Sunday night, Oct. 29, 1944, at Algona-Branch Camp No. 4 near Bena, Minn. The lightly secured stockade in the woods was one of the World War II prison work camps established in Minnesota, joining facilities in Owatonna, Faribault and Fairmont.
They all used prison labor to offset worker shortages left when lumbermen and farmers were siphoned off to battlefields in Europe and the Pacific. Schymalla and his 21-year-old, note-writing comrade, Walter Mai, were among 208 Germans cutting timber for Minnesota’s pulp industry.
Make that 206.
“Our Fatherland, Our Homeland are now in a very difficult position and needs all available sons,” Mai wrote in German. Mai and Schymalla had been captured in Tunisia in May 1943.
Prisoners of war like Schymalla and Mai earned 80 cents a day in canteen coupons for their sawing and chopping. They also received mail. One letter — detailing how his 60-year-old father and brother had been conscripted to join the beleaguered Nazi military — sparked Schymalla to make his dramatic jail break.
A sense of duty compelled him to hatch a getaway plan to get back to the front. When he whispered his intentions to Mai, they agreed to make a joint run for it."