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The Source: Texas' World War II Internment Camp And The Role Of 'Deutsche Ballspiel'

CrystalCityGermanteam.JPG
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures
Eberhardt ‘Eb’ Fuhr, second from the right on the bottom row, with his German baseball team at the Crystal City, Texas, internment camp during World War II.";s:

Many people know that during World War II, the United States created a system of internment camps for resident aliens from Japan as well as American citizens of Japanese descent. 

What’s not generally known is that some Germans and Italians were targeted as well. They, too, were put into camps. Some of them were deported.

Eberhard "Eb" Fuhr came to the United States with his parents when he was 3-years-old and was still a nationalized German. Fuhr describes his childhood as idyllic, but a dark shadow was cast when, in March of 1943, 17-year-old Fuhr was arrested. 

He was just six weeks shy of graduating but instead of donning a cap and gown, Fuhr was charged with being an enemy alien for the German government and put in detention. 

Fuhr would spend the next four and half years in government custody, most of it at an internment camp in Crystal City, Texas - the site of the largest German internment camp in the nation.

A “baseball craze” had evolved in German Texas communities by the 20th century, and was an important part of rural German farming communities. While interned at Crystal City, many internees - including Eb Fuhr - played on a German baseball team within the camp.

Guests: 

*Audio for this show will be available by 3:30 p.m.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi
Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.