Tuesday Time-Waster: P.O. Box 1142

I might have a lifelong fascination with WWII, but that fascination always seems to reveal how much I DON’T know. For instance, a Virginia park just outside Washington D.C. was actually a top secret place codenamed P.O. Box 1142, and it’s where Nazi POWs were interrogated — by Jews.

P.O. Box 1142 was the American government’s first foray into interrogation, and they kind of learned as they went along. And then, when the war ended, the place shut down and became Fort Hunt Park. Those who worked there had been sworn to secrecy by the U.S. government, and they only consented to interviews after the National Park Service, seeking to preserve history, got the military to send them written releases.

I learned about this place while listening to a “This American Life” podcast (“Act 2″ of that one). I naturally turned to the Internet for more information. The podcast site has this blog post with old documents and photos. And NPR’s “All Things Considered” previously did a feature on the place.

I’ve wanted to return to Washington D.C. for years, and now I have yet another site to add to my list. History is so fascinating.