Robertson County
Texas

 

 

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County Coordinator is Jane Keppler.

County Co-Coordinator is Jean Huot Smoorenburg


If you have any questions or would like to submit information for Robertson County, please email one of the above.

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C A M P   H E A R N E   C O L L E C T I O N

During World War II, American and German soldiers alike embraced the song "Lili Marlene" which told the story of a girl who waited patiently for her soldier to return home.  Marlene Dietrich recorded this song in English (Windows Media / Real Audio) & German (Windows Media / Real Audio).

This collection will record information about Camp Hearne, the World War II prisoner of war camp that operated in Robertson County from 1942 until 1947.  It was located just outside of Hearne on the road heading towards Cameron.  Even though all of the buildings have been removed from the site, the area where the camp was once located has remained virtually undisturbed since the camp was dismantled shortly after the war.  The camp's water tower, a pond built by POWs, and multiple foundations of barracks and other buildings remain.  Several of the original barracks are still intact.  These include the barracks (pictured below) that are currently used as classrooms at Hearne's Blackshear Elementary School.


Scale Model

Water Tower

Pond

Foundation

Scale Model
 

Blackshear Barracks
 

Blackshear Barrack
 


Foundation

 
 

Blackshear Barrack

Blackshear Barrack

 
Resources Descriptions
Roll Call:
Friends Of
Camp Hearne
Bugler Four issues of the Bugler, Camp Hearne's periodic newsletter, have been published so far.  These include:
These newsletters contain the latest information on Camp Hearne and Roll Call: Friends Of Camp Hearne.
Camp Hearne
Historical Marker
30 53 15 N / - 96 37 03 W
(Hearne -- Not Yet Placed)

" During the Second World War, allied troops captured large numbers of Axis soldiers and transported them to prisoner of war camps established throughout the United States. More than 70 camps in Texas housed some 50,000 prisoners. In March 1942, Hearne Chamber of Commerce President Roy Henry contacted Congressman Luther Johnson to request that a camp be located here. Within a month, U.S. Army staff had inspected the area and selected 720 acres as a prison site. Construction of the camp began in September 1942 and was completed in six months. It was laid out in three sections, each of which included a mess hall, lavatory, company office and eight barracks. The first of almost 5,000 prisoners of war (POWs) arrived in June 1943. Most of the POWs housed here were non-commissioned officers (NCOs) of the famed German Afrika Korps captured in Tunisia. Because NCOs were not required to work in prison camps according to the Geneva Convention, they spent most of their time in recreational and educational activities while the bulk of the work in the camp fell to enlisted men who comprised about twenty percent of the prison population. In 1944, Camp Hearne became the central mail distribution point for all German POWs in the U.S., but poor supervision allowed a small group of Nazi sympathizers to infiltrate the system and intimidate and terrorize both prisoners and their families back in Germany until the scheme was discovered and the operation shut down in July 1945. A few hundred Japanese prisoners were brought here in the summer of 1945 shortly before the end of the War. All POWs were gone and the camp closed by January 1946." (2003)
Website Dr. Michael Waters, an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Texas A&M University, has extensively researched Camp Hearne and has created a Camp Hearne website.
Model A full-scale model of Camp Hearne is available for viewing at Hearne City Hall.
City Of Hearne Brochure The City of Hearne has produced a Camp Hearne brochure.
City Of Hearne Website Information about Camp Hearne is available at the City Of Hearne website.
Hearne On
The Brazos
The Norman Lowell McCarver father and son team who wrote Hearne On The Brazos devoted several pages of their book to the Hearne Prisoner Of War Camp.   
Handbook Of Texas
Online Articles
The Handbook Of Texas Online has an article on Prisoners Of War as well as an article on German Prisoners Of War (second article mentions Camp Hearne several times).
Articles &
Television
Coverage
1999 Texas A&M news story on professors engaged in German prisoner of war research in Texas. Articles on Camp Hearne have included: (1) National Geographic Magazine printed an article "Echoes Of World War II In Texas" for the April 1999 issue; (2) Discovering Archaeology featured Camp Hearne in the magazine's premier issue (date unknown); (3) Spring 2002 Texas Monthly article.  Two television documentaries on Camp Hearne were scheduled to air in 2000 on CBS & ABC affiliate stations throughout Texas.  An hour-long History Channel feature on U.S. prisoner of war camps aired in late January 2002.  Although Dr. Waters highlighted his Robertson County research and pictures/artifacts of the local camp prominently appeared on this television program, Camp Hearne was not identified by name. If you have copies of these articles or tapes of these TV programs, contact **.  Another  Camp Hearne article is located at http://www.archaeology.org/9705/newsbriefs/camphearne.html.
Utilization Of Prisoners Of War In The United States During World War II: Texas, A Case Study Robert Warren Tissing Jr. wrote this 1973 Baylor University master's thesis. Its 117 pages include information on Camp Hearne. Information is based, in part, upon oral history interviews conducted in 1972 with six Robertson County residents. This work is online at Utilization Of Prisoners Of War In The United States During World War II: Texas, A Case Study.
Oral Histories The Institute For Oral History at Baylor University has several Camp Hearne oral histories from Robert Warren Tissing Jr.'s master's thesis above. These materials total 65 minutes of taped interviews and 47 pages of typed transcripts.
Camp Hearne Cemetery There is no Camp Hearne Cemetery visible at the site today.
Fort Sam Houston
National Cemetery
After the war, the bodies of POWs who died while in captivity were either returned to their homelands or buried at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, TX [see List Of POWs Buried At Fort Sam Houston Cemetery].
German Prisoners Of War The German Prisoners Of War website provides information about POW camps worldwide from the German perspective.  It contains media files, cemetery locations, and other information.

Four commercially available books contain information about Camp Hearne.  Three of these books have been donated to the Genealogy Collection of the Carnegie Center Of Brazos Valley History, 111 North Main Street, Bryan, TX, 979.209.5630, e-mail Carnegie Center.  The additional book will be purchased upon its release and donated to the Carnegie as well.  These four books are:

Lone Star Stalag:
German Prisoners Of War
At Camp Hearne
By Texas A&M University Anthropology Professor Dr. Michael Waters.  This book is slated for release by the Texas A&M University Press in the fall of 2004.  Additional information is online at the Texas A&M University Press website.
 

Nazi Prisoners Of War
In America
By college professor Arnold Krammer.  This book contains references to Camp Hearne on pages 64, 70, 130, 149, 171, 173, 178, 185, 261, & 267.  Excerpts of passages containing significant information about Camp Hearne as well as this book's table of contents are online at Krammer POW Book Additional information about this book, including sample chapters, is online at Nazi Prisoners Of War In America Book.

The Lone Star & The
Swastika: German
POWs In Texas
By college professor Richard Paul Walker.  The index indicates that Camp Hearne or Hearne are mentioned on the following pages of this book:  3, 12-15, 27, 40, 51, 67, 69, 74, 75, 82, 83, 88, 89, 91, 96-103, 124, 125, 127, 134, 143, 145, 146, 148, 156, 157, 167, 181, 187, & 188 Excerpts of passages containing significant information about Camp Hearne as well as this book's table of contents are online at Walker POW Book.  Available through Eakin Press, Austin, TX.

The Reluctant Warrior:
Former German POW
Finds Peace In Texas
By former Camp Hearne prisoner of war Heino R. Erichsen.  While references to Camp Hearne appear on pages 12 and 207, the description of this POW's experiences at Camp Hearne appears on pages 55 - 66.  Excerpts of passages containing significant information about Camp Hearne as well as this book's table of contents are online at Erichsen POW Book   Offered by Eakin Press, information about this book and how to purchase it is available at The Reluctant Warrior.

Attention Movie Buffs

Don't get your hopes up.  No major motion pictures have ever been made about Camp Hearne.  This website, however, is compiling a list of movies that have been made about German prisoner of war camps during World War II that were in the United States.  So far, the list is:

THE INCIDENT  A 1989 made-for-television movie about a small-town lawyer during World War II who becomes a pariah when he's forced to defend a German POW in a murder trial.  Directed by Joseph Sargent, this movie stars Walter Matthau, Robert Carradine, Harry Morgan, Peter Firth, Susan Blakely, Barnard Hughes, & William Schallert.  The storyline revolves around the murders of fellow German prisoners by a group of Nazis in a Colorado POW Camp.

SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER  A 1978 made-for-television production that is based on a book of the same name by Bette Green.  The movie deals with the romance between a young Jewish girl and a German POW who was incarcerated in and escaped from a prisoner of war camp in her Arkansas hometown.  Directed by Michael Tuchner, the cast includes Kristy McNichol, Esther Rolle, Bruce Davison, & Michael Constantine.  For her performance as the family housekeeper, Esther Rolle won an Emmy.

 

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State Coordinator: Shirley Cullum
Assistant State Coordinators: Carla Clifton, Jane Keppler

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Page Modified: 15 September 2014

Copyright 2014-present by Jane Keppler. This information may be used by individuals for their own personal use, libraries and genealogical societies. Commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from Jane Keppler. If material is copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information and please email me and let me know. Neither the Site Coordinators nor the volunteers assume any responsibility for the information or material given by the contributors or for errors of fact or judgment in material that is published at this website.