In 1985 the Last German Soldier in America Surrendered

generalfeldmarschall erwin rommel color colour the desert fox tropical uniform brillanten

German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel 

From the Dusty Corners of History: 11 September 1985

Hitler’s Last Soldier in U.S. Surrenders in San Pedro : POW Fled N.M. Camp 40 yrs. Ago

During World War Two, almost 400,000 German soldiers were placed in POW camps in the US. This included all of Field Marshal Rommel’s “unbeatable” Afrika Korps. These soldiers were sent to the USA under and agreement with the British government.

A handful of these POW’s escape although none of them made an attempt to leave the country. Most established themselves as hard working American citizens although all of them were wanted by the FBI. Eventually they all gave up although most were allowed to return to the US after they were deported.

Dennis Whiles (aka Georg Gaertner), the last escaped German POW still at large, finally turned himself in on 11 September 1985. Given his age and his long marriage to an American citizen, he was allowed to stay in the US. He died in Colorado in 2013.

When he surrendered, the New York Times said he had obviously become thoroughly Americanized because he gave himself up to authorities accompanied by his public relations representative, his lawyer and his new book, ” Hitler’s Last Soldier in America, ” published to coincide with his surrender.

I’m surprised he didn’t get his own cable TV show.

From the LA Times:

Hitler’s last soldier in America, a World War II prisoner of war who lived in the United States for 40 years after escaping a POW camp in New Mexico, surrendered in San Pedro this morning.

Tears moistened Georg Gaertner’s cheeks as he told how he kept his past secret even from his U.S.-born wife of 21 years until early last year, when she became so frightened by his unwillingness to discuss his past that she threatened to leave him.

The remainder of the article is here:

http://articles.latimes.com/1985-09-11/news/mn-7392_1_camp

 

 

 

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/