Facebook Twitter

WWII documentary ‘Splinters of a Nation’ about German POWs in Utah to premier on KUED on Monday

SHARE WWII documentary ‘Splinters of a Nation’ about German POWs in Utah to premier on KUED on Monday

The stories of three Germans who were prisoners of war in Utah during World War II are included in the documentary “Splinters of a Nation,” which is set to premier on KUED on Monday, Oct. 24, at 8 p.m.

The film focuses on several different aspects of these three and other prisoners’ experiences, including their civil treatment in war camps in Utah, their help in the workforce in Utah, the positive relationships that many Utahns formed with them, the Salina Massacre in Salina, Utah, and their return home to a broken and defeated Germany.

First-time director Scott Porter said in an interview with the Deseret News that he feels not enough attention is given to World War II stories such as this and hopes that this documentary will help preserve this story in people’s minds and in history books.

“It’s a nonprofit film, so it does have a purpose and that purpose is to get this story into the books and to be remembered," Porter said. "It’s definitely a subject that is in risk of being forgotten completely.”

Porter first heard of this story from his grandmother. He learned when talking to her one day that she had many German prisoners of war work on her farm in 1945.

“I was just over at her house interviewing her, which I had done with all of my grandparents, just capturing her life story," Porter said. "Then she just all of a sudden out of nowhere tells me this story that I don’t know if she had told anybody before.”

After doing more research, Porter learned that while his grandmother’s story was remarkable, it wasn’t all that unique. He learned that there were around 8,000 German prisoners of war in Utah in 12 known camps and over 370,000 throughout the country in 46 states.

The film took five years to make, according to Porter. Several of these years were spent raising money and searching for living witnesses.

He said it was especially hard searching for living German prisoners of war that were held in Utah, but eventually found three who were at a camp in Ogden that they interviewed and included in the film. Porter said they also found more than 100 living witnesses with memories of the German prisoners of war in Utah and interviewed over a dozen of them and included a handful of them in the film.

“Splinters of a Nation” will air on KUED on Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. and will re-air on Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. Porter said he has shown the movie at free community screenings followed by question and answer sessions. See splintersofanation.com for information.

Documentary about German POWs to premier on Monday

The documentary "Splinters of a Nation" is about German POWs in Utah during World War II and will premier on KUED on Monday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m.

Email: adroge@deseretnews.com