Dana VanderLugt | Writer

What is Left Behind

by | Nov 27, 2019 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

Several years ago my Dad mentioned a story he had heard about German POWs who came to pick the apples in what would later become my Grandpa’s orchard. For the last nine months or so, I’ve been immersed in researching and writing — amazed as I uncover more and more about the stories and lives of these “enemies” and the farm families for whom they worked.

Grateful to The Twelve blog for giving me a space today to process, reflect, and remember. You can read this post here.

Also grateful for smart and kind readers, one who pointed out to me that this Sunday’s Old Testament Reading is about beating swords into pruning hooks.

May it be so.

This photo of German POWs was given to me by a 90-year-old woman I met through my research. She grew up in Munich and inherited the photo from her neighbor, who was a POW interned in the U.S.


  1. Deb

    Hi Dana,
    I’m curious about the story of the German POWs who came to pick apples in your grandfather’s orchard. Where did that take place? My father told me stories about German POWs who came to work on his father’s farm probably cutting hay or planting tobacco. That was in Fayette County Kentucky, just north of Lexington.

    • dvanderl

      Hi, Deb.
      My grandparents’ orchard was in Jamestown, Michigan, about 15 miles from Grand Rapids. There are POW stories from the camps all over the country, though. From what I’ve read, there was an abundance of camps in the South, where the weather was warmer, and thus, housing was a little less complicated. Thanks for reading!


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