Robert Whitlow Papers
Scope and Contents
- 1945 - 1987
- Whitlow, Robert (Creator, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
After successful military campaigns by the U.S. Army in Northern Africa during 1943, several hundred thousand prisoners of war flooded into the United States. Prisoner of War camps were established throughout the country in order to house the captured “Afrika Korps” soldiers. In Arkansas several camps received POWs, including the administrative headquarters for POW camps, Camp Robinson. However, these large concentrations of prisoners were problematic. They did not facilitate the employment of POWs in jobs compliant with the Geneva Convention.
In response to the dilemma, 30 branch camps were established to better distribute the POW population. The majority of branch camps were established in Eastern Arkansas where there was a severe shortage of farm labor. Jonesboro was selected as one of the sites for a branch camp and the prisoners were relocated to a site near Arkansas State College to provide farm and general labor for the surrounding community.
Robert Whitlow was a Jonesboro resident and reporter for the Memphis Press-Scimitar newspaper. He visited the POW camp at Arkansas State College in order write reports regarding the prisoners of war. Among the German POWs Whitlow met in Jonesboro were Ernst Lorenz and Karl Heinz-Hermanns. Both men were from the Afrika Korps and they spent their internment picking cotton, working rice fields, and providing other labor in the Jonesboro area.
Karl Heinz-Hermanns was repatriated to Germany during 1946. Due to severe economic conditions, he immigrated to Sweden in the 1950s. Hermanns kept in touch with several fellow former POWs from Jonesboro as well as with Robert Whitlow. They exchanged gifts in the first three years after Hermanns’ repatriation, including rice, a food not available in Germany at the time. Hermanns and Whitlow maintained correspondence until 1987.
Ernst Lorenz also repatriated to Germany in 1946 then later immigrated to Sweden. Through Hermanns, he regained contact with Whitlow. In 1977, Lorenz traveled back to America to visit his brother in New York and the Whitlow family in Jonesboro. He returned to America in 1982 and 1986 for additional visits. Lorenz and Whitlow exchanged correspondence until 1986.
0.4 Linear Feet (The Robert Whitlow Collection is comprised of 4 folders contained within one document box. )
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated to the archive by Larry Ball in 1998.
- Robert Whitlow Papers Finding Aid
- Meredith McFadden; Flora Smith, Editor
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
Part of the Archives & Special Collections - Dean B. Ellis Library Repository
Arkansas State University
Dean B. Ellis Library
P.O. Box 2040
State University AR 72467 United States