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Navar, John

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Use of German and Italian prisoners of war at the Navar family dairy during World War II. Housing for POWs at the former Civilian Conservation Corps camp on Zaragosa Road. Describes duties of POW workers.

Interviewee John Navar, male, born in -0001
Date Range 1943-1946
Date & Location November 3, 2000, Farmers Dairies, El Paso, Texas
Project Prisoners of War in New Mexico Agriculture
Region Outside New Mexico
Number of Tapes 1
Transcribed January 18, 2001
Download Abstract


Tape 1, Side A

Dairy stopped its home deliveries during World War II to concentrate on supplying products to the military. Opened in 1915. Awarded an "E" certificate for wartime service.

Prisoners of war were provided as laborers to dairy probably 1943. Came daily from a POW camp set up at a former CCC camp. Consultant's brother, Ralph, (deceased), was in charge of prisoner detail. German POWs worked there first, then Italian POWs. John Navar remembers that prisoners included former diamond cutter, lawyer, and minister.

The Navars furnished the POWs an old pickup truck to drive on dairy property.

John Navar remembers the Germans as diligent workers and the Italians as men who sang and played the guitar. The prisoners were guarded at all times. Mr. Navar also remembers how thrifty the German prisoners were, picking up bent nails and straightening them rather than throwing them away.

The prisoners fed cattle, cleaned the barn and did general maintenance. The truck they drove while at work was marked "POW". Mr. Navar recalls a particularly positive contact with prisoner Ludwig Koler and said there was no fear of any of the prisoners. The brother, Ralph, shared chicharrones with the POWs, who had a hard time pronouncing "chi".

Price's Dairy also used POWs. A group of six to eight of the POWs worked at the Navar dairy. Mr. Navar recalls it as a generally good experience.