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Robert Whitlow Papers

Identifier: ASTATE-1998-12-01

Scope and Contents

The Robert Whitlow Papers Collection is comprised of three series: Ernst Lorenz Correspondence (1 folder), Lorenz Visit News Clippings (1 folder), and Karl-Heinz Hermanns Correspondence (2 subseries).


  • 1945 - 1987


Conditions Governing Access

This manuscript collection consists of physical materials. This collection has not been digitized. This collection is open for research use only in the Reading Room. It is not available for request through Interlibrary Loan. Please contact the archive via email ( at least a week in advance of your arrival to ensure the availability of the material.


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. )




This collection contains correspondence between former-German POWs and Robert Whitlow, a representative of the Memphis Scimitar Press. During World War II, the POWs were housed at a camp established at the Jonesboro Civilian Conservation Corps, where they first met Whitlow.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the archive by Larry Ball in 1998.


Further additions to the collection are not expected.


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

Repository Details

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
870-972-3199 (Fax)