Indianola NE Historical Society

preserving the history of our town…

Prisoner Stories

Letter sent from Indianola Camp to Germany.

Send me your stories about the prisoners from the camp and I’ll post them here.

#1. In 1945 my uncle Floyd Fritsch and other area farmers used German prisoners to help farm the land. I remember stopping at the main gate of the “camp” to pick up a prisoner. The German seemed ready and willing to get out of the camp and work with my uncle. I don’t remember anything about the paper work but the guards appeared to be very stern. This army prisoner was about 30 years old and spoke little English. Floyd’s father communicated with the prisoner in fluent German. I think we took the prisoner back that night just before supper.

#2 My wife’s father, Sumner Payne, worked as a carpenter at the German Prisoner Camp from 1944-45. When the Germans learned that they would be returning home, many were upset and crying. Many had no reason to go home. A German friend of Sumner’s gave him a little dog for his daughter, Lynda (my wife). He knew that he could not take the dog on the long trip home. Lynda tried to care for the little dog named Caesar but he would not eat or play. In desperation, the German friend was allowed to visit the Payne home and see what he could do for the dog. As soon as the dog heard the German speak, Caesar jumped for joy and ran around the yard. It seems that he only understood German! Unfortunately, about a month later the little dog was struck by a passing car and was killed. I also remember when the prisoners were brought down main street in army trucks to the train station for shipment home. Most were not very happy. At least that is the way it appeared to a young boy.

3. One of the German carpenters at the camp, made a beautiful inlaid walnut cedar chest for Fern Payne. It had a rose cut into the front of it. Also he made a smaller chest for Lynda. This one could be used as a seat for children. It had a shelf which lifted out and was very much prized over the years. It has since been passed down to a granddaughter.

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