During World War II, Michigan became a temporary home to six thousand German and Italian POWs. They picked fruit in Berrien County, harvested sugar beets in the Thumb, cut pulpwood in the Upper Peninsula and maintained parks and other public spaces in Detroit. Guards for the POW who worked in Detroit included Grosse Pointers, some of whom established enduring friendships with these prisoners of war.

Presenter: Gregory D. Sumner is co-chair of the Department of History at the University of Detroit Mercy. Greg’s previous Bicknell presentation was “Detroit in World War II” in April 2016.

The lecture will be available on the Society’s YouTube channel in the weeks following.

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Dr. Frank Bicknell Lecture Series

This long-running series of lectures are supported by a generous endowment named after the eponymous honoree.

Lectures have covered a wide range of topics and interests over the years, and during the pandemic, went online! Now you can attend the lectures in person at the historic Cook Schoolhouse in Grosse Pointe Woods, or online at the GPHS YouTube channel, where you will also find many of the past lectures. Tune in on YouTube and subscribe.

Find out more about the live and virtual lecture programs:

2022 – 2023 Bicknell Lecture Series