During World War II 425,000 German prisoners were interned as prisoners of war in the United States. They lived in 700 camps scattered throughout the country. Prisoners had friendly interaction with local civilians and sometimes were allowed outside the camps without guards on the honor system. Fraternization between American women and German prisoners was discouraged. However several camps held social receptions with local American girls, and some Germans met their future wives as prisoners.
The Madison Affair is set in the Spring of 1944 on a remote farm in Wisconsin when most of the eligible young men are off to war. The absence of these young men not only make it hard on young romance, but make it a necessity that local farmers have to use POW’S to work on the farms.
Debra Anne Miller, a striking blond, expert horsewoman, vivacious, intelligent and full of teen angst is tortured by a romantic crisis on the eve of her 18th birthday. She is being pressured to marry her High School sweetheart and feels trapped. She cares for Johnny Madison a handsome, clean-cut Army 101st Airborne Paratrooper eager to fight for his country and All-American in every way, but is not in love with him. He has a good heart, but is romantically naive and their romance is more a long term friendship. In her confused state of mind she is venerable to the charm of a handsome young man who just happens to be a German Prisoner of War. That POW is Dietrich “Dirk” Mueller (21-27) a handsome, well built, bronze-toned young man with kind blue eyes. He has an eye for Debra, but understands the realities of being a POW and her disdain for suspected Nazis. He was never a Nazi and may not even be German – a secret that, once revealed, changes everyone’s attitude towards him.
Patricia “Trixie” Miller (20-25) Debra’s sister, is also having romantic problems, but of an entirely different nature. She is more cute than pretty. A tomboy, but all-woman and a bold, mischievous flirt who is hungry for love. Unfortunately, she is married to a soldier serving in the Pacific who has been MIA for two years. She describes herself as being “Khaki Wacky” and marrying the uniform, not the man. She has been a good girl for 2 years, but is bursting at the emotional and hormonal seams for someone to ease her loneliness. Her desperation makes her venerable to a romantic overture from the right guy. That guys turns out to be, Max Leberstraum, a cute, bright-eyed POW. He is a soldier who served honorably, but was never a Nazi. He is in love with Trixie and hopes to marry her when the war is over. Personal and community problems make that impossible and almost get Max killed and Trixie run out of town.
Anne Adams Miller (40’s to early 50’s) Debra’s mother, is a world weary, but still handsome woman. A German War Bride from WWI, she harbors a secret, that if revealed, could end her marriage to her husband, Tom Miller. Tom is a good guy who served with the Marines at Bellou Wood in WW1 and a fervent anti-Nazi. Against his better judgment, he is forced to use
POW’s because local labor is not available. He barely disguises his hatred of Germans though, like most of his neighbors, he is of first generation German ancestry and is estranged from a brother who was an official in the American Nazi Bundt.
Anne has to do her best to keep the shenanigans of his daughters from Tom and the community, but circumstances intervene and secrets are revealed that tear the family apart. Zelda Miller, Johnson, Jones, Smith. (40’s-50’s) the girls much married and divorced, effervescent, zany Aunt – an “Auntie Mame” on steroids – is drawn into the midst of these crises. She is a still handsome, Red Cross Worker and political mover and shaker with connections in the War Department. She has become an expert at dealing with problems arising from young people forced into bad decisions by the circumstances of War.
Debra and Trixie are patriotic young women in a super-patriotic time, but they are also women in need of love. Despite their best efforts, they find themselves attracted to these handsome young Germans. Absent the war, this would be a teen love story like any other and these would be young people trying to find love in the closest and most welcoming arms.
NOTE: This script is based on a true story related to me by the people who lived it. It was painstakingly researched for period accuracy and great pains were taken to tell it so that does not in any way glorify Nazi’s. In fact just the opposite is true. War is hell on romance and The Madison Affair dares defy that hell.
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