Sunday, November 27, 2011

Merry Christmas from Camp Olmstead Field POWs

Camp Olmstead Field 

During WWII, Pennsylvania held 26 POW Camps and 1 Japanese internment camp. Camp Olmstead Field in Middletown, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania held at least 281 German POWs. 

Relationship with POWs
It is clear that POW’s often bonded or developed relationships while being held as prisoners of war. Perhaps this was the result of the War’s re-education program of POW’s as described in RG 389, File Unit 255.
The records in this series document the attempted re-education of German prisoners of war (POWs) along more pro-democratic and pro-American lines, as well as the cultural and religious life of POWs interned in camps in the United States and Europe.”  The subjects included attitudes, haircuts, education, and even “planning and releasing of American motion pictures to specific POW audiences
During WWII, 1944-1945, Charles H. Koegel, an American mechanic, served in the Army Air Corps at Olmstead Field, Pennsylvania. According to his son, he did speak German, implying he may have been a rather recent German immigrant. During Koegel’s WWII service, six German (or Austrian) prisoners of war worked under his supervision as mechanics in the motor pool. These POWs  presented him with this Christmas card (front of card above). According to family, Koegel often wondered what ever became of these men. The family still cherishes this Christmas card.
"In memory of the POW Camp Olmsted Field"
Although Charles H. Koegel died in 1994, his family would like to hear from any of these men or their families.
Johann Pentenrieder
Jakob Schmitz
Willi Beinert
Willi Stekelbach
Rudolf Kirchhofs 
Anton Neumann
Write us a note ( if you are acquainted with any of these POW’s.

Olmstead Field POW Camp Research
A good place to start your Olmstead Field POW research is in the National Archive holdings.  Here are a few links from National Archives Record Group 389:

File 255, Provost Marshal Textural Records 1943-1946

Camps - General: Olmstead Field, Middletown, Pennsylvania

Detention Rosters: Olmstead Field, Middletown, PA.  1942-1946

Kathleen Brandt
accurate, accessible answers

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