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German Experience

American Internees in Germany

          More than 100 Americans were arrested in Berlin, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war between the United States, Japan and Germany as of December 1941. Mostly diplomats and journalists, the 115 Americans spent some four months interned in Jeschke's Grand Hotel, in Bad Nauheim in the Tanus Mountains, near Frankfurt on the Main. While treated correctly for the most part, the group resented internment and longed to be returned to the United States. As timed passed, their frustration led to numerous conflicts and complaints—until they were released.

Louis P. Lochner on


George F. Kennan on


German Internees in America  

(adapted from Arthur D. Jacobs’ research and website)

The World War II experience of thousands of German Americans, to most, is an unknown history. During World War II, the U.S. government and many Americans viewed German Americans and others of “enemy ancestry” as potentially dangerous— particularly recent immigrants. The government used many interrelated, constitutionally questionable methods to control persons of German ancestry, including internment, individual and group exclusion from military zones, internee exchanges, deportation, repatriation, “alien enemy” registration, travel restrictions and property confiscation. The human cost of these civil liberties violations was high: families were disrupted, if not destroyed; reputations ruined; homes and belongings lost. By the end of the war 11,000 persons of German ancestry, including many American-born children, were interned. Pressured by the United States, Latin American governments collectively arrested at least 4,050 German Latin Americans. Most were shipped in dark boat holds to the United States and interned. At least 2,000 Germans, German Americans and Latin American internees were later exchanged for Americans and Latin Americans held in the Third Reich.

          The mission of the authors of the following documentation is to tell the stories of thousands whose lives were forever changed because the United States suspected them of disloyalty. Government suspicion was based upon national origin and led to great hardship: their story must not be forgotten; it deserves to be told. To date, it remains shrouded in history.

National Archives link


North Dakota Sisters of Mary of the Presentation
interned in France by the Germans
24 September 1942 to 25 February 1944

read their story