HOME TO FIVE THOUSAND PRISONERS OF WAR
During the Second World War, the United States established prisoner of war camps throughout the country including seventy camps in Texas, housing approximately 50,000 captured enemy soldiers. Five thousand of those soldiers ended up at Camp Hearne, a seven hundred and twenty acre site in the Brazos Trail Region community of Hearne. Construction of the camp facilities took only six months, including three different sections that each included barracks, lavatories, and mess hall. The first prisoners (or “POWS”), arriving in June of 1943, were non-commissioned officers of the German Afrika Korps captured in Tunisia. By 1944, Camp Hearne provided central mail distribution service for all German POWS held in the country. Once the war had ended, Camp Hearne services were no longer needed and the camp was permanently closed by January of 1946. Today, Camp Hearne serves as museum, education center, and archive for the WW II Prisoner of War Camp legacy, courtesy of the nonprofit group Friends of Camp Hearne. During regular operating hours, heritage travelers may tour the camp via walking trails or car, a complex comprised of the American sector, the hospital area, the recreation area, and the POW compound. Special events feature living history exhibits, holiday programs, and opportunities for school groups to learn about different aspects of the GI and prisoner experience during World War II including how Texans helped win the war.
Watch the following videos to learn more about World War II POW camps in Texas and the experiences of POWs and camp guards at Camp Hearne. These videos were 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
Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.