York Town Square

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Pennsylvania Dutch-speaking York County residents often conversed with German POWs

Ron Trout was just a kid when Camp Stewartstown, next to the Presbyterian Church in that southeastern York County, Pa., community, operated in the summers of 1944 and 1945. The camp formerly stood in and around the park’s ballfield, in background. Background posts: Jamaican fruit pickers worked York County orchards in World War II , Story revives memories of oft-forgotten York County POW camp and German POWs: ‘They worked cheaper than We did’.
Clifton Kehr (clkehr@juno.com) persisted through my World War II talk at York’s Lutheran Village/Sprenkle recently.
He then via e-mail shared some insight about German prisoners of war, housed in Camp Stewartstown to pick fruit for two summers… .

His mother and father worked at the Lineboro Canning Co., and both were fluent in Pennsylvania Dutch, a German dialect.
His mother said she could converse with some prisoners with no problems.
With others, she could not communicate at all.
In an e-mail, he made a couple of other points worthy of note:
– “We hear a lot of talk these last few years about weapons of mass
destruction. Not new. One of my uncles was killed in France in WW I – – –
the Germans used mustard gas!”
– “The GI Bill of Rights. I had enlisted in the Air Force near the end
of WW II. When the war ended I was released back into civilian life
after serving only 17 months. Amazingly, this was sufficient to pay for
my total college expenses including spousal subsistence when I married
after the Junior year (Gettysburg College, BA, Chemistry 1949).”
He drew these observations from his autobiography, available at the York County Heritage Trust.