WINDOWS IN TIME LECTURE SERIES PRESENTS: “PEARS AND POWS: NEW PERSPECTIVES”
Historian Lina Cordia presents July 3 and 10, 2019
Medford, Oregon (June 10, 2019) — Lina Cordia will present “Pears and POWs: New Perspectives” on Wednesday, July 3 at the Medford Library, 205 South Central Avenue, and Wednesday, July 10 at the Ashland Library, 410 Siskiyou Boulevard from 12 noon–1:00 p.m. at both locations.
Is there such a thing as a democratic “Nazi,” or are the two terms ideologically opposed? One of the 155 prisoner of war base camps during World War II in the U.S., Southern Oregon’s Camp White housed Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps fighters in addition to a diverse group of other German Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe soldiers. Camp White presented a unique experience not only for its roughly 2,000 prisoners, but also for the residents of Jackson County. Cordia’s lecture seeks to fill in gaps in knowledge and dispel some myths associated with those POWs. By more thoroughly examining the prisoners’ identities and experiences, the largely positive interactions between the local resident population and these German “Nazis” are better contextualized. With a more nuanced perspective of the prisoners’ backgrounds, it is also possible to reassess the disputed role of the secret “reeducation program.” The effectiveness (and dubious legality) of reeducating prisoners remains contested in existing scholarship on POWs in American custody. The overwhelmingly kind and hospitable treatment experienced by the German enemy prisoners in Camp White, however, represents a fascinating episode in local history, enabling an illuminating historical analysis of these racialized wartime political and social dynamics.
Lina Cordia has her M.A. in History from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and has served as an Adjunct Instructor at Southern Oregon University since 2017. Her research interests include agricultural labor patterns, especially in the Pacific Northwest, as well as racial, ethnic, gender, and class dynamics within nineteenth- and twentieth-century American society. Her article, “They Came for the Harvest: The Bracero Program in Jackson County, Oregon, 1951-1955,” will appear in the Summer 2019 issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly.
The monthly “Windows in Time” lunchtime lectures are offered free to the public on the first and second Wednesday throughout the year from 12 noon–1:00 p.m. The Southern Oregon Historical Society and Jackson County Library Services co-sponsor the lecture series. For more information, please contact the Southern Oregon Historical Society at (541) 773-6536 or sohs.org or Jackson County Library Services at 541-774-8679 or jcls.org.
About Jackson County Library Services:
The mission of the Jackson County Library District is to connect everyone to information, ideas and each other. With 15 branches throughout the county, community meeting rooms, programs, outreach to homebound residents and to childcare centers, computer classes, free internet access, 24-hour online resources, and a staff of experts, library services touch nearly every Jackson County resident. For more information about library services and locations, visit jcls.org
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