Lois Anderson: Learn more about POWs in Minnesota

Reader Opinion letter

The West Central Tribune June 30 paper featured an article on prisoners of war, “Axis power POWs provided labor in time of war.”

For any who would like to learn more about the approximate 3,000 POWs who were in Minnesota, I suggest the book “Swords into Plowshares,” written by Dean B Simmons and published in 2000 by Cathedral Hills Books of St. Paul.

Simmons laid out his book by counties and towns, including Olivia and Bird Island. I grew up in Renville County and attended church at Zion Lutheran in Olivia so it was interesting to read on page 77, “Rev Immanuel Lenz of Zion Lutheran visited the POWs in the fields and held weekly services in both Olivia and Bird Island.”

Simmons visited seven former German POWs in their homes in Germany. He was also able to publish many photos of the POWs in their camps.

A copy of this book might be hard to find; I bought from


Lois Anderson


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