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German POW expert to speak at New Mexico State

Rudiger Overmans, a German author, lecturer and professor of history at the University of Freiburg, will speak on the German prisoner of war experience at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, in New Mexico State University's Corbett Center, Room 315.


ns is really the leading expert in the study of the POW experience," said Jon Hunner, professor of history at New Mexico State.

Overmans has authored several books on the subject, including "Soldiers behind Barbed Wire," which was published in 2000 and later was turned into a three-part video series shown all over Europe, Hunner said. The book discusses and compares the history of German POWs held by various Allied powers during WWII, he said. Overmans has a doctorate in economics and contemporary history.

Overmans' lecture is being held in conjunction with an exhibit opening at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. "To Get the Job Done: Employing Prisoners of War in New Mexico Agriculture During World War II" will run at the museum from Jan. 12 to July 7. The exhibit documents the employment of New Mexico's German and Italian POWs in agriculture during WWII. Overmans also will speak at the museum exhibit opening at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26. A public reception will follow from 2 to 4 p.m.

"POWs in southern New Mexico during World War II worked to grow crops for food to be sent to U.S. troops in Europe. It was really an interesting relationship that grew between the POWs and the Mesilla Valley. It is an important part of southern New Mexico history," Hunner said.

The exhibit will include photos, letters, WWII memorabilia and testimonials. For museum hours and information about the exhibit call (505) 522-4100.

The free university lecture is sponsored by the New Mexico State History Department, the Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum and the Friederich Ebert Foundation in Germany.

For more information call Hunner at (505) 646-2490.

Julie M. Hughes
Jan. 9, 2002