From the outside, Building 98 in Marfa appears rather unassuming, with neutral styling and small wooden letters proclaiming its institutional name. Step inside, however, and the building’s multifaceted history is unavoidable. Constructed in 1920, the adobe structure housed the officers club and bachelor officers quarters for the Army’s Fort D.A. Russell. It is more renowned, however, for its occupants during World War II — particularly the German prisoners of war (POW), who painted colorful panoramic murals on many interior walls.
The colorful murals are compelling, especially considering they were created with house paint by war prisoners from Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps. The POWs, inspired by their time in Marfa, devoted most of their murals to capturing the surrounding wideopen landscapes. The artists were later identified as R. Hampel and Hans Jurgen Press; notably, Press would become a famous illustrator and author of children’s books in post-war Europe.
Building 98 is now home of the International Women's Foundation, a center for artistic development and healthful aging.
Watch the following video to learn more about WWII POW camps in Texas. The video was produced for inclusion in the World War II on the Texas Home Front mobile tour found in our Texas Time Travel mobile app. Learn more about the tour and the app on the World War II theme page at the following link: http://texastimetravel.com/travel-themes/main-world-war-ii
Building 98 - POW Murals
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