EVENT UPDATE: Due to the possibility of a winter storm, the Varnum Members Meeting scheduled for February 8 has been postponed one week. The new meeting date is MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15.
PLEASE RSVP AGAIN: If you have already RSVP’d and plan to attend the February 15 meeting, please RSVP again by FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12, to Scott Seaback at 401-413-6277 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Again the new meeting date is Monday, February 15.
On Monday, February 15, Varnum Trustee Brian L. Wallin takes us back to the waning days of World War II and a unique experiment in democracy. Working with Washington attorney and fellow Varnum member Christian McBurney, Brian researched the secret purpose of three World War II Prisoner of War camps located in Saunderstown and Jamestown, Rhode Island: an organized effort to educate a select number of German POWs in the basics of democracy. The goal? A cadre of individuals who would plant the seeds of a new post-war Germany to succeed the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler.
In late 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the program, the legality of which fell within the terms of the Geneva Convention. German prisoners would be exposed to American values and the basics of a democratic government. Brian will take us behind the scenes, introduce us to key players, both German and American, and reveal the ultimate impact a program that was kept under such tight security that only then Rhode Island Governor J. Howard McGrath was privy to its actual purpose.
Little has been written about the camps since the end of the War. Last year, research by Brian and Christian took them on a trail that led from Rhode Island to the National Archives in Washington and elsewhere. Their story was recently published in the Online Journal of Rhode Island History.
Brian Wallin, a graduate of Stonehill College and American International College, spent 20 years as a television news reporter before turning his career to hospital administration. He retired in 2009 as Vice President of Kent Hospital where he continues to be active in an advisory capacity. In addition to his contributions to the history blog, he writes a monthly column for the Varnum Continentals newsletter.
This meeting is open to Varnum Members and their guests.
DATE: Monday, February 15, 2016
TIME: 5:30 p.m. (social hour); 6:30 p.m. (dinner followed by program)
MENU: Steak Tips & Peppers ( Bourbon), Chicken Marsala, Vegetable, Salad, Rolls & Butter, Coffee & Pastries
RSVP: Please RSVP by FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12, to Scott Seaback at 401/413-6277 or by email at email@example.com.