Fort Sam Houston POW Camp
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Bernd das Brot Team
N 29° 28.506 W 098° 25.697
14R E 555429 N 3260760
Quick Description: The largest POW camp in Texas
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 1/27/2008 2:24:18 AM
Waymark Code: WM31VV
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Rupert2
Views: 170

Long Description:

POW Camp Fort Sam Houston



This is a very emotional waymark for me: There were over 365,000 German prisoners of war detained in American POW Camps from 1942-1945. One of the about 4,000 POWs in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, was my German Grandfather who was shipped here from France and spent what he called "The best past of the war" in one of the largest camps on American soil.

I would like to point out that my grandfather had nothing but the deepest respect for the people of the United States. The way he used to talk about his time in Texas laid the foundation for my own love and respect for the country I've been calling home for 13 years now.

Unfortunately, there is nothing left of the original camp. The last physical evidence, the foundation of one of the watchtowers gave way to new military housing in 2007. So, this is what the area looks like today:

The Museum

Fortunately, the Fort Sam Houston Museum has kept some information about the former POW camp. During my visit at the museum, the director, Mr. John Manguso, kindly presented me with a copy of the original map of the camp.
I also took a picture of a model of Fort Sam Houston to show the location of the camp within Fort Sam Houston.
Map of the POW area Fort Sam Houston Model

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery

German Grave

Japanese Grave


Most POWs returned to their home countries shortly after the surrender of Germany and Japan. However, 144 Axis soldiers, mostly Germans but also a few Austrians, Japanese and Italians, died before the end of the war. Their remains are buried at Fort Sam Houston's National Cemetery.

The POW camp was about 300 meters north of the north side of the cemetery. With that area now being off limits for civilians, and considering that these graves are the last physical evidence of the former camp, I picked this location (see my "Qualifier" picture) as reference location for this waymark.

I am deeply touched to see how Americans take care of the graves of their former enemies, even bury them at the same cemetery as their own veterans.

During World War Two, my home country Germany caused death and destruction for millions of people all over the world. Remembering the respect my grandfather had for his "capturers" and now witnessing the respect America pays to soldiers from the other side makes me believe that peace and forgiveness are not only words.

With respect to all war veterans
Volker Moerbitz
January 2008


Check out the Fort Sam Houston Museum website for more information on this camp.
Also, check out kriegsgefangen.de for more information on German POWs in America.

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