Friday, February 10, 2012

Camp Hearne in Lone Star Stalag

In 1942, a World War II prisoner-of-war camp spanned 250 buildings on three compounds in the small, central Texas city of Hearne.

Surrounded by 10-foot fences and barbed wire, Camp Hearne was guarded by seven guard towers and 500 American servicemen and women, who guarded and operated the camp.

Texas Highways magazine featured an article on the camp and Texas A&M anthropology professor Michael Waters, who -- with a team of 150 students -- investigated the camp’s history through archeological excavation, archival evidence, and oral history in its December 2011 issue. You can read the history of Camp Hearne in Water’s book Lone Star Stalag (Texas A&M University Press, 2006).

“The documents we found, and the archeological investigations we conducted, provided the facts about what happened at the camp,” says Waters of the site, which today is hidden beneath a growth of weeds.

“But when the oral history research began, we started to hear the stories and understand some of the emotions involved.” Waters said the last former Hearne POW that he is aware of visited the site a few years ago.