Rhinelander, Oneida County, Wisconsin

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    Charles P. Forbes
    July 23, 2010
  • Bibliography

    Major References

    Bruso, Lelah, ed.. Oneida County: Centennial History Edition 1887-1987. Rhinelander, 1987. View Full Entry
    Cowley, Betty. Stalag Wisconsin. Oregon, WI, 2002. View Full Entry
    Hoday Pete. Rhinelander Invites You. [Creative Wisconsin, Vol. 1, #3, July, 1954, p. 50] Madison, 1954. View Full Entry
    Huhti, Thomas. Wisconsin. [Fourth Edition] Berkeley, CA, 2008. View Full Entry
    Huhti, Thomas. Wisconsin Handbook, Including Door County. [First Edition] Chico, CA, 1997. View Full Entry
    Jones, et al.. History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties. Minneapolis, 1924. View Full Entry
    Kortenhof, Kurt. Long Live the Hodag! The Life and Legacy of Eugene Simeon Shepard: 1854-1923. Rhinelander, 1996. View Full Entry
    Lydecker, Ryck. Outboard Museaum Gears Up. [BoatU.S. Magazine, 10:3, May 2005, pp. 26-27.] Alexandria, VA, 2005. View Full Entry
    Olsen, T. V.. Birth of a City. [The Rhinelander Country, Vol. 2] Rhinelander, 1983. View Full Entry
    Olsen, T. V.. Our First Hundred Years: A History of Rhinelander. Rhinelander, 1981. View Full Entry
    Olsen, T. V.. Roots of the North. [The Rhinelander County, Vol. 1] Rhinelander, 1979. View Full Entry
    Pohlen, Jerome. Oddball Wisconsin. Chicago, 2001. View Full Entry
    Van Valkenberg, Phil. Best Wisconsin Bike Trips. Madison, 1985. View Full Entry
    Vancos, Joy. Oneida County Courthouse, 1908-2008, Walking Tour of Area Homes. [Brochure] Rhinelander, 2008. View Full Entry
    Vilas County News-Review. Vilas County News-Review's 2009 Headwaters Area Guide. [Published Annually] Eagle River, 2009. View Full Entry
    Walker, Scott. Governor Walker Announces Dnr Forestry Headquarters Move to Rhinelander. [Press Release, Office of the Governor, State of Wisconsin, October 25, 2018] Madison, 2018. View Full Entry (Full text available)

    Minor References

    ****. Fishing, It's Good This Year. ["A Letter from Home, 'Life's' Special Issue Is a Report on Wartime America," Life, September 25, 1944, pp. 66-67] Chiicago, 1944. View Full Entry
    ****. Horrible Hodag. [Northern Action Magazine, XIX:3, June 2004, p. 51.] Tomahawk, 2004. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Bergin, Mary. Wisconsin Supper Club Cookbook. Guilford, Connecticut, 2015. View Full Entry
    Boyer, Dennis. Great Wisconsin Taverns. [A Trails Books Guide] Madison, 1999. View Full Entry
    Edmonds, Michael. Out of the Northwoods, The Many Lives of Paul Bunyon. Madison, 2009. View Full Entry
    Greene, Howard. Border Country. Minneapolis, 2017. View Full Entry
    Schultz, Gwen. Wisconsin's Foundations, A Review of the State's Geology and Its influence on Geography and human Activity. [Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconson] Madison, 2004. View Full Entry
    Swan, Richard. Light Tackle Fishing Guides of North America. Reno, NV, 1986. View Full Entry
    Will, Tracy. Wisconsin. [Compass American Guides, Third Edition] Oakland, CA, 2001. View Full Entry
    Ziegler, Art. Oneida County, Wisconsin, Cartographic Catalog 1988. Madison, 1988. View Full Entry
    kfkf. kfkf. . View Full Entry
  • Links
  • Images
  • Miscellany

    Camp Rhinelander, German POW Camp

    If you didn't hire them, you didn't know that German prisoners of war were in the area. The farms near Rhinelander were far apart with lots of woodland between them. Back into the woods an abandoned CCC camp hid and housed the 190 PW's that arrived in Oneida County, in a federal nursery two miles west of Rhinelander hear Highway 8, the U.S. Forest Service LobLolly Pine Tree Lab stood adjacent to the PW Camp. The abandoned camp needed only a good cleaning to prepare it for new occupants. The largest building became sleeping quarters for the PW's. German speaking camp Commander Captain Kunze and his forty or so guards slept in another dormitory type buildling. This work battalion found the old CCC mess and bathing facilities still usable. While some food arrived from Fort Sheridan, most of the food was purchased from a local A&P in downtown Rhinelander. Captain Kunze negotiated a deal with the A&P to buy quality beef and call it "bologna." This gesture proved well worth the money. The PW's appreciated the "bologna suasage" and responded with excellent cooperation throughout their stay. With no cleared level area large enough for soccer, there was little recreation available here, other than cards, reading and letter writing. The local Dr. Van Komaszynski contracted with the camp to provide medical services and tended the PW's and guards as needed. At Camp Rhinelander security was minimal, with neither a fence, guard station or tower. Dispatched each morning in Jeeps, U.S. Army MP's stationed with the PW's accompanied the prisoner work details to the area farms. Always visible for show, the gun were not loaded, as the guards never worred for their own safety or about escapes. [Fn: Anthony E. Beres. MP and staff officer stationed at Camp Rhinelander and Camp Fedonia, married Rhinelander woman. Correspondence and telephone interview with author. Dunedin, Fla. February-March, 2001.]

    The PW's came to Rhinelander in two waves, the first ninety arrived on August 29, 1945, with the additional 100 trucked in on September 4th. The Oneida County Farm Labor Association Cooperative had arrangements with the government for their assistance to pick beans and harvest portatoes at the going wage of fifty-five cents per hour. [Fn: "75 German Prisoners Arrive to Work in Bayfield. '//Ashland Daily Press//. 27 August 1945. 1.] Thirty five U.S. Army MP's accompanied the first contingent of prisoners when they arrived with their gear in twenty-four trucks and two jeeps. Major Elmer A. Ward, assisted by German speaking Captail A. I. Kunze, was in charge of this company of PW's. [Fn: "Ninety German Prisoners Here," //New North// (Rhinelander), 30 August 1945, 1.] School buses and trucks used to pick up and deliver the PW's to their work sites each morning, returned them to camp again in the evening. Even with the additional 100 prisoners that did arrive later, the potato growers still had a serious labor shortage and put a pleas ofr help in the October 11, 1945, edition of //The New North//. [Fn: "Need Help for Potato Harvest," //New North// (Rhinelander), 11 October 1945, 1.] The farmers recruited high school teens for Saturday work to help save the crop. Camp Rhinelander closed at the end of October as the potato harvest ended. [Fn: "Prison Camps Close," //New North// (Rhinelander), 1 November 1945, 1.]

    The chapter contains "Recollections" from:

     Lynn Bell, Milwaukee, WI.
     Sgt. Anthony E. Beres, Dunedin, FL. (With photo of Sgt. Beres.)
     Juanita Spafford Kichefski, Rhinelander, WI.
     Betty Kuczmarski, Rhinelander, WI.
     Marvin Spafford, Eagle River, WI.

    In addition the chapter contains a photo of PW's picking up rocks in a field, courtesy of W. C. Schroeder.