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German POW Letters

Manuscript Collection 1907

Stamp from a letter sent by German P.O.W., 1946
Stamp from a letter sent by German P.O.W., 1946

Special Collections Department
University of Arkansas Libraries

365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701-4002
Phone: 479-575-8444
Email: specoll@uark.edu

Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD by Krista Jones, 2011

Finding Aid is written in English.

Table of Contents

Descriptive Summary

Title
German POW Letters
Inclusive Dates
1946-1948
Identification
Manuscript Collection 1907
Extent
.15 linear ft. (1 box)
Repository
Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email specoll@uark.edu at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

No Use Restrictions Apply.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Acquisition Information

The German POW Letters were purchased by the Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, on December 2, 2010, from Roy Dudley Estate Sales, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Processing Information

Processed by Krista Jones; completed in June 2011.

Preferred Form of Citation

German POW Letters (MC 1907), Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.

See Special Collections Citation Guide for more detailed information on how to cite specific documents from the collection.

Related Collections

World War II Prisoner of War Records (MC 509)

Jerome Relocation Center Collection (MC 629)

Biographical Note

During World War II the United States established many prisoner of war (POW) camps to help alleviate POW housing in Great Britain. By 1943, Arkansas had received both German and Italian prisoners of war, who were sent to various military and federal facilities throughout Arkansas. Camp Dermott, previously the Jerome Relocation Center for Japanese Americans, was one of Arkansas’s primary centers for German officers and enlisted men with disciplinary problems. The camp was located eight miles south of the farming town of Dermott, Chicot County, Arkansas, and encompassed 960 acres, 640 of which had been enclosed. By April 1945 Camp Dermott and its two branch camps housed 3,831 prisoners.

Living conditions at Camp Dermott included barrack housing, recreations activities, and creative and educational opportunities. Popular outdoor recreational activities among the prisoners were soccer, handball, and bowling. In addition, Camp Dermot’s POWs preformed theatrical plays and musical concerts. The prisoners also had access to two weekly films that were shown in the camp’s theater which could hold 960 persons at a time, and wrote and edited the Der Ruf, a prisoner newspaper. Furthermore, Camp Dermot provided weekly Catholic and Protestant religious services.

At Camp Dermott, POWs were required to work in and around the camp, earning money for their labor that they could use at the camp store. In addition, many of the POWs, due to the labor shortages in the farming and timber industry, supplemented the farm and labor forces throughout Arkansas. Each day, trucks of prisoners were transported to farms and timber sites to chop cotton, cut wood, and perform other chores to help stabilize the economy.

One of the farms that Camp Dermott contracted POW’s to was owned by E.D. Gregory. Ernest Dean Gregory, the youngest of George R. and Alice J. Jackson Gregory’s four children, was born November 4, 1879 in Parkdale, Ashley County, Arkansas. Ernest’s father died when he was six years old. Ernest, just like his father, farmed for a living and by the time he had married Margaret Sawyer on August 25, 1909 he had established himself as one of the most successful farmers and landowners in Ashley County. Together Ernest and Margaret had three children, Margery, Kathleen, and Edwin. After the death of his wife and mother in 1923, Ernest continued to farm and lease land to sharecroppers in Parkdale. Throughout his life, Ernest became an owner of the Jackson & Gregory Merchant Store, participated in the Agriculture Adjustment Act of 1934, and was a member of the Voluntary Farm Debt Adjustment Committee in 1935. Furthermore, during World War II, Ernest employed German POWs from Camp Dermott. Ernest continued to farm until his death on June 16, 1949.

Scope and Content Note

Materials included in the collection are ten letters between Ernest D. Gregory and German prisoners-of war, including Helmut Schulz, Fritz Becker, Gerhard Schnause, Werner Gebauer, Gustav Menke, Werner Schmitz, Rolf Thienemann, and Alfred Tschiersch.

The letter from Werner Schmitz is written in German, but a translation is available.

Arrangement of the Papers

The letters are arranged chronologically within one folder.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection

Box 1

Box 1 Folder 1

German P.O.W. Correspondence, 1946-1948

Box 1 Folder 2

German P.O.W. Correspondence Photocopies, 1946-1948

END OF COLLECTION