Monday , May 15, 2017 - 5:00 AM
OGDEN — Scott Porter’s interview with his grandmother for a family history project illuminated a little-discussed part of Utah history — German prisoners of war lived and worked from Logan to Salina. In fact, the largest prisoner of war camp in Utah was in Ogden.
Now, Northern Utahns will have a chance to learn more about Utah’s history in World War II when Porter’s documentary, “Splinters of a Nation,” plays for free in Ogden.
The Kaysville man said his grandmother “told this little five-minute story about how, in 1945, these busloads of German prisoners of war would come to her family’s farm (in Lewiston), almost every day, and would work on the farm there.”
That tidbit spurred Porter to do some research, which is how he came across a book by Kent Powell called “Splinters of a Nation: German Prisoners of War in Utah.”
Powell’s book inspired him to create a documentary about this incredible fact, and Powell was happy to share the name.
“Splinters of a Nation” tells the story of 8,000 World War II German prisoners who were sent to Utah where they worked on farms and factories across the state for more than three years.
The documentary was slated to release for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II but was delayed due to setbacks and budget problems. It finally aired on PBS in October 2016.
Porter is excited to finally bring the film to Ogden for a free special screening. He found about 75 living witnesses of the POW camp in the Ogden area during his research, some of whom appear in the finished product, he said.
The documentary will be played at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, at Peery’s Egyptian Theater, located at 2415 Washington Blvd. in Ogden. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Porter and Powell.
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