Prisoners of War

By: Robert W. Tissing, Jr.

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: October 1, 1995

During World War II Texas had approximately twice as many prisoner-of-war camps as any other state. Twenty-one prisoner base (permanent) camps were located on military installations, and over twenty branch (temporary) camps were constructed throughout the state. More than 45,000 German, Italian, and Japanese prisoners were interned in Texas from 1942 to 1945. As the war continued, a policy of maximum utilization replaced a policy of maximum security of the prisoners, which resulted in the use of over 27,000 prisoners in numerous agricultural tasks, such as picking cotton, pulling corn, and harvesting rice. The prisoners were well treated, and very few escape attempts occurred from the Texas camps. After the war almost all prisoners were returned to their native countries, and many expressed their desire to return to Texas. Over 100 prisoners who died of wounds or of natural causes are still buried in the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio. See also GERMAN PRISONERS OF WAR, and WORLD WAR II, TEXANS IN.

Mark Choate, Nazis in the Pineywoods (Lufkin: Best of East Texas Publishers, 1989). Arnold Krammer, Nazi Prisoners of War in America (New York: Stein and Day, 1979). Robert Tissing, "Stalag Texas, 1943–1945," Military History of Texas and the Southwest 13 (Fall 1976).
  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Military
  • Japanese
  • World War II
  • Internment Camps
Time Periods:
  • World War II

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert W. Tissing, Jr., “Prisoners of War,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995