World War II PW branch camps in Eastern Arkansas

Kent J. Goff

Hist 6803

Dr. Dougan

Spring 2000

In 1943 the United States and Britain became the captors of several hundred thousand German and Italian prisoners of war after the successful Allied campaigns in North Africa. In January of that same year Arkansas became the host for thousands of these Axis prisoners.(1) Since the United States Army had little historical experience in managing large numbers of foreign captive soldiers, it was poorly prepared and solutions to several problems had to found.(2) As a captor, the U.S. had several obligations. First, these prisoners had to be fed, housed, and cared for in accordance with the 1929 Geneva Convention agreements on the laws of war. Second, the enlisted prisoners could be made to work for the captor nation at non-military efforts in accordance with the Conventions.(3) Third, the Conventions required that the prisoners needed to be kept secure from escape or abuse by the local populace.(4) The establishment and operation of prisoner of war camps in Arkansas required all three of these concerns to be addressed.

The first major camp in Arkansas was established at Camp Chaffee in northwest Arkansas in converted U.S. troop barracks.(5) A larger 300 acre camp at Camp Robinson soon followed, and later Camp Robinson became the administrative headquarters for the 30 branch camps established primarily in eastern Arkansas.(6) The Camp Robinson headquarters controlled about 10,000 prisoners and a guard force of 1000 in the main and branch camps. A third large camp named Camp Dermott was renovated from the closed Japanese relocation center at Jerome in October of 1944 for the incarceration of fanatically Nazi or otherwise uncooperative prisoners.(7) These large camps did not facilitate putting prisoners out to work at jobs acceptable to the Geneva Conventions, so the branch camp concept was developed to spread the PWs out to the agricultural areas that needed labor.

This study focuses on the organization and routine of the branch camps in eastern Arkansas. These branch camps of 60 to 600 PWs were placed in the small towns of eastern Arkansas to provide farm labor. The camp's operations and the typical and atypical experiences of the guards, prisoners, and local civilians illustrate one of many aspects of how the worldwide total war of World War II came to the home front of rural eastern Arkansas.

Part of this narrative reflects a race against time to save the details of the branch camps. Virtually no physical evidence of the location and construction of the 30 branch camps remains. The few surviving elderly local residents who recall the locations of the camps and the prisoners who worked on their farms are also passing away. Fortunately, three former guards who married local women and stayed on until this day were found and interviewed for details on the daily operations of the camps.(8) Over twelve taped hours of formal oral history interviews and many more hours of informal discussions with residents of the area during the war and their descendants illuminated the treasure trove of documents found in the archive at Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

The invaluable documentary sources in the archive included the voluminous files of E. C. "Took" Gathings, the Congressional Representative of eastern Arkansas. During the war Gathings was the powerful chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. E. C. "Took" Gathings was one of the key personalities in the establishment and operation of the agricultural work camps in eastern Arkansas. Especially as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, Representative Gathings' wartime correspondence provides a wealth of detail on the branch camps and their operations in his frequent responses to inquires or complaints made by his constituents about the operation of the branch camps. Another key source was the business records of the Lansing Company and its last owner, Mabel Gieseck. Miss Gieseck managed the farming operations of one of the largest plantations in Cross County near Parkin and kept extensive records. She used PW labor extensively and kept meticulous records, including all the instructions and memorandum issued by the Wynne PW branch camp in her files.

About 30 branch camps varying in size from 80 to 600 prisoners were established (see map and table in Appendix A.) These branch camps were established primarily to alleviate the farm labor shortage in the cotton and rice fields. A typical report by the Cross County Cooperative Extension office in January 1945 puts it in dire terms: "In view of the increasing shortage of labor..., I have never seen farmers before in such unsettled frame of mind, as to what they can do toward their 1945 crop."(9) The same report pleads that the local farmers have lost not only skilled and unskilled labor to the military and the higher paying defense industries, but machinery is also in short supply due to the war rationing.(10) The report goes on to state that without additional farm labor from an increased number of prisoners, the farm output of Cross County would decline by 50% from 1944 levels in 1945 production.(11) The Extension Agent for Poinsett County reports similar problems. The farm population was noted at being the lowest in twenty years.(12) Additionally, the agent cited that 4,000 fewer ration books were issued in the county than in 1942, which translates to a population drop of 4,000.(13) The Poinsett County agent begged for additional prisoners as well, noting that as of February 1945 that 5,000 acres of rice and 10,000 bales of cotton from the 1944 season remained in the fields due to the lack of labor to bring in the crop.(14) While both of these reports likely exaggerate the situation in the hope of getting additional prisoners for the 1945 season, the labor situation must have been severe.

Surprisingly, the actual building and costs of construction of the branch camps were borne by groups of local farmers. The State Cooperative Extension office was delegated to manage the PW agricultural labor program in Arkansas. This agency encouraged groups of farmers were encouraged to set up incorporated associations to apply for the placing of a branch camp in their area.(15) For example, the Cross County Farmer's Association provided grounds, fences, guard towers, buildings such as mess halls and latrines, electricity and water.(16) The War Department provided tents, wooden floors for tents, cots, other tent equipment, and mess hall equipment.(17)

The "typical" camp consisted of a few buildings of cheap construction, a fence with guard towers, and 8 man squad tents erected on wooden platforms for the guards and prisoners sleeping quarters. Photographs and information on the Earle camp provided by Joe Kamm showed it consisted of two metal Quonset huts and two simple wood buildings that served as the day rooms, mess hall, showers, and commissary of the camp.(18) A photograph of the Turrell camp shows nearly identical wood buildings, perhaps of a standard design, along with the tents of the prisoners.(19) The camp at Keiser used tents for both guards and prisoners on the site of an abandoned stave mill. Parts of the stave mill building were used for showers and storage.(20)

There were variations in camp construction; the small Victoria camp used vacant sharecropper houses for the guards and a purpose built barracks for its 80 prisoners.(21) The camp at Bassett took over the grounds of a WPA project called "Bassett Park."(22) The camp used the former community center for the quarters of about 300 prisoners, while the guards lived in the tourist courts that were once part of the Bassett Park project.(23)

The Jonesboro camp utilized the barracks and facilities of the former Civilian Conservation Corps camp near the Arkansas State College campus.(24) Since the local users of the labor were required to pay for the camp's construction, any opportunities to save money were taken advantage of.

Security arrangements at the camps were simple and often quite lax. Typically a ordinary barbed wire fence 6-7' high surrounded the compounds, and at the Victoria camp a piece of wood was attached to the top of the fence posts to provide a 45 degree turn-in.(25) A guard tower was placed at opposite corners of the rectangular compound.(26) Arc lights illuminating the fence were provided for the towers in at least one camp.(27) Joe Kamm, a guard at the Earle camp, reported that often the guard towers went unmanned on Sundays, or even that the guards slept in the towers while on duty.(28) Even weapons for the guards were not in abundance. Joe Kamm, who oversaw the storage and issue of weapons at his Earle camp, stated that the camp had about fifteen M1 carbines and a half dozen M1911 .45 cal. pistols and that the guard force at Earle numbered between 36 to 42 soldiers during his assignment there.(29) Therefore not all guards could be armed.

The primary purpose of the branch camps was to provide farm labor to the plantations in the area. The prisoners were used in harvesting crops and "general farm labor." In Cross and Poinsett counties crop harvesting included cotton, rice, soybeans, and fruit (primarily peaches.)(30) Outside of the harvest season, the Wynne Camp manager reminded farmers that the prisoners were available for "ditching, fencing, clearing, and general repair."(31) Quotas for cotton picking were set by Federal government regulation at 100 lbs. per day per prisoner.(32) Not all the work was farm labor. The camp in Jonesboro supplied prisoner work details to then Arkansas State College (now Arkansas State University) where they worked on road improvement projects, marking out the football field, or tractor driving for the physical plant.(33) Local lore states that the sewer system of Wilson Arkansas was built or improved with PW labor.(34)

PWS were not to be used for skilled labor, especially unionized jobs. Mabel Gieseck was using six prisoners as carpenter's helpers in repairing houses on her plantation until the Wynne camp commander stopped her detail based on regulations. Miss Gieseck fired off an angry and lengthy telegram to Congressman Gathings blaming the CIO (labor union) for this restrictions and also the "CIO running the Army and dictating the use of war prisoners labor."(35) Gathings in turn sent a telegram to the commander of the 8th Service Command in Dallas and got the regulation rescinded for Miss Gieseck to complete her project.(36) A later 1946 order detailing the allowable labor tasks for PW prisoners prohibits all skilled work such as carpenters or work on public projects such as roads.(37)

The procedure for obtaining the use of PW labor was generally as follows. Landowners or other authorized users of PW labor like ASC contacted the civilian manager work manager to schedule PWs for work details. "Members" of the associations who paid to establish the camps got first priority to available prisoners, but other farmers could request a work detail.(38) A pay schedule to the government was established at $.18 per man-hour per day and later increased to $.22. Prisoners were paid by the U.S. government for working outside their camps $.80 a day, but were not allowed to have cash, instead they received credit at the camp commissary.(39) These camp commissaries had beer, cigarettes, candy, toiletries, and other sundries.(40) After the war, but before the camps were closed down the Federal government added a provision to the employment contract with the farmers charging them $1.50 penalty for non-use of prisoners.(41) Apparently some users were scheduling work details without work to ensure that the details would be available on the days they desired.

Interpreters to assist the guards direct the prisoners and to interpret for the civilian foremen on the work details were English speaking prisoners.(42) In the opinion of some of the guards many times these interpreters abused their fellow prisoners by the power they had.(43) One guard stated that by the end of the war most of the prisoners in his camp understood or spoke enough English to understand most commands.(44) The guards also began to learn enough German over time to issue simple commands to the prisoners, so the power of the interpreters declined over time.(45)

In spite of the efforts to establish and operate the branch camps, prisoners were not considered to be a completely satisfactory solution to the labor shortage. One report calls them "half a chance, (and that is about what prison labor is)."(46) Another large landowner in the West Memphis area stated he tried using German PW's several times, but gave up as "they are the rottenest bunch I have ever had anything to do with in my life."(47) This landowner goes on to state he abandoned his cotton and corn land rather than try to use prisoner labor any more.(48) Apparently this was a continuing problem. After a year in existence, the Wynne camp had a meeting of camp officials and farmers to discuss the on-going problem of how to "get more work done by prisoners."(49)

The prisoners in the branch camps were primarily members of the famed German "Afrika Korps" who were captured during the successful Allied campaigns in North Africa in 1942 and 43. While the prisoners in the branch camps were members of the German army, many were not of German nationality. At the Victoria camp, Keatts recalled that many claimed to be Austrians.(50) Joe Kamm, who as provost sergeant of the camp managed the prisoners records, recalled that most of the prisoners in his camp of about 300 PWs were non-Germans. Poles, Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia, and Austrians made up most of the population.(51) A letter from a former prisoner of the Crawfordsville camp to his wartime planter-employer states that he was not allowed to return to his original home in the Sudetenland.(52)

In spite of the rather lax security, prisoner escapes were extremely rare. George Cunningham, the first sergeant at the Keiser camp that contained about 300 prisoners, could not recall a single incident of escape or attempted escape at his camp.(53) Harry Keatts never had an escape from the Victoria camp, and could not recall having heard of one at any other camp.(54) Joe Kamm stated that only a single prisoner ever escaped from his camp, but the escapee turned himself in to the West Memphis police after realizing that he had not reached the Atlantic Ocean, but only the Mississippi River. This prisoner told Kamm that he was just overcome by homesickness, and used his duties as a trustee to slip out of the camp and hitch hike a ride to West Memphis. Kamm recalled that this prisoner, who spoke excellent English, was due to be transferred to "easy" duty in the Camp Robinson PW hospital. Instead, this PW was sent back to Camp Robinson to be held with other problem prisoners at hard labor.(55)

Prisoner punishment for infractions was relatively light at most of the camps. Harry Keats, a guard at the small Victoria branch camp, could not recall the "cooler" at the camp ever being used except to hold a U.S. soldier guard who got drunk and attacked the local constable.(56) Ike Tomlinson recalled that after a detail of prisoners fought amongst themselves about who would drive a tractor, the camp commander in Jonesboro locked them up for several days as punishment.(57) George Cunningham could not recall any serious incidents with prisoners at his camp, other than occasionally some would put dirt clods in their cotton sacks to help make the 100 lb. daily quota.(58) Ike Tomlinson of ASC opinion of the prisoners was that "they were very courteous to our students, and if a girl'd go by there was no whistling or anything of that kind."(59) All three guards interviewed agreed the general practice was to send any troublesome or uncooperative prisoners to the Marked Tree camp or back to the main camp at Camp Robinson.

Physical punishment of troublesome prisoners was occasionally meted out. One uncooperative prisoner was made to stand in a field at night in the headlights of a jeep to be tormented by the clouds of mosquitoes that inhabit eastern Arkansas.(60) The Marked Tree camp had a severe punishment for its recalcitrants. Joe Kamm witnessed sometime after V-E day a German prisoner staked down in the sun to a piece of sheet tin with a cup of water just beyond the reach of a single free hand.(61) Kamm said that many of the guards at the Marked Tree camp were former prisoners of the Germans captured during the Battle of the Bulge and had rather vindictive attitudes, but he was also told the prisoner in this case was a fanatic Nazi.(62)

In spite of the generally docile behavior by the prisoners, a few incidents occurred where the guards used physical force or even fired shots. A former sharecropper's son recalled one day when the PWs came to work on his family's share that a German soldier climbed high into an apple tree during a break to apparently get apples to eat. When a guard ordered him down, he did not immediately respond. The guard then fired a shot into the air, and the PW dropped out of the tree as if hit, but immediately jumped up and ran back to the cotton patch where the others were working.(63) Harry Keatts related that one day he had trouble with a prisoner "trusty" who worked in the Victoria's camp stable caring for the work mules. This PW had a habit of disappearing for periods of time, and one day Keatts caught him sneaking through the fence to cross the road to an abandoned machine shop with the purpose of liaison with a local black prostitute. The PW arrogantly tried to go by Keatts, who loaded his carbine and made clear that if he did not return to the camp, he would be shot. The PW complied in a surly fashion.(64)

Joe Kamm related the following story. One very hot day in the fall of 1944 Sergeant Kamm received a phone call from one of the "riding bosses" complaining that the prisoners refused to work. He asked to talk to one of the guards on the detail, a new soldier to the camp, and was told that the prisoners were holed up in a vacant sharecropper house. Sergeant Kamm then hopped in a jeep to go to the scene. Kamm called the German interpreter out to order him to get the men back to work. The interpreter said it was too hot to work, and returned to the house. Sergeant Kamm then shouted out to the dozen German PWs inside that they had two minutes to come out and get to work. After the time limit expired, Kamm took the M1 carbine from one of the guards and started shooting at the roof line and worked his way down. Kamm stated prisoners flew out the doors, windows, and even appeared to make doors to get out of the house. He tossed the carbine back to the guard and left. The next day Kamm said that he found his spare shoes shined and his bunk pressed and made up as it had never been before (a few prisoners were detailed as orderlies to the U.S. guards.) Kamm said that after that, the prisoners called him "Herr Kamm" and were very solicitous of him after the incident.(65)

Recreation for the PWs consisted of athletics and crafts. Joe Kamm stated his camp's prisoners were very avid soccer players and that the local civilians often came to watch.(66) A photo of the Turrell camp shows a volleyball net in the yard.(67) At one undetermined camp the PWs were very active in putting on plays and skits complete with painted scenery.(68) The city hall/library of Keiser Arkansas has several artworks on display made by the prisoners in the camp in that town.(69) Oil paintings, wood carvings, and even a wood chest remain in hands of local residents today that were made by the prisoners. Joe Kamm admitted he helped the prisoners sell such items to local people in violation of published orders.(70) Kamm also stated that the prisoners sold or traded their German military insignia.(71) A letter to farmer members of the Wynne camp after the war also decries the trade in paintings and carvings as unacceptable fraternization.(72)

The dispersed nature of the branch camps away from the command center at Camp Robinson probably contributed to several practices of relaxed discipline among the guard forces. For example, a letter from the civilian manager of the Wynne camp that admonished users of the camp to stop paying the U. S. Army guards.(73) Enlisted men were not the only ones taking advantage of little supervision from above. Harry Keatts stated his commander rarely spent time at the Victoria camp, but could usually be found in Osceola playing poker with the local gentry.(74) Another example of the relaxed atmosphere came from examining photographs of the guards at the Victoria camp. The guards photographed were wearing a shortened version of the standard wool winter uniform coat; when this was mentioned to Keatts, he laughed and stated that there were several skilled tailors among the PWs of that camp who remodeled the coats for the guards to a more comfortable style.(75)

Treatment of prisoners by the guards and the local farmers was gentle and often very generous. Betty Alexander recalled that as a child she took the prisoners working on her father's share a pitcher of cold milk at lunchtime. Even as a small girl she did not feel afraid of the prisoners.(76) One resident of Wynne wrote E. C. Gathings a scathing letter complaining of how well the PWs were being treated, how a local farmer gave his PW labor cold beer and ice cream, and that the PX at the local camp has cigarettes and other rationed items not available to the civilian population, but available to the prisoners.(77) Some of this treatment may have been an effort by the farmers to induce greater efforts by the prisoners. The son of a Parkin farmer recalled that his father gave the prisoners peanut butter for picking above their 100 lb. quota of cotton. This was against regulations of the camp, but he recalled the PWs put the peanut butter in their canteens to smuggle it back to the Wynne camp.(78)

Congressman Gathings looked into the matter of prisoner diet and in a letter to one of the branch camp managers stated that the War Department policy provided for a diet of 3400 calories per day, including a small meat ration, was the policy based on the advice of nutrition experts.(79) He also stated that the Army intended to conduct an investigation to ensure prisoners were neither over nor under fed at the camps.(80)

Medical care for the prisoners was provided by both local and military sources. Joe Kamm recalled that a local doctor was contacted for immediate emergencies in Earle, and that routine cases were sent to the Wynne camp that had a small infirmary. Serious cases were sent back to the headquarters at Camp Robinson where there was a PW hospital.(81) Dr. R. L. Johnson of Bassett occasionally served at the camp in that town.(82) Other written orders exist concerning the health and safety of the prisoners. An order from the Wynne camp commander dated July 7, 1945 directed that all drinking water for the prisoners use during the workday was to be hauled from the camp. This implies that a problem with prisoners becoming ill from drinking contaminated water on the farms. In response to an accident that killed or injured several prisoners riding in a farmer's truck, another order describing the minimum passenger protections required of the user's trucks before prisoners would be allowed to leave the camps was issued.(83) Apparently problems with enforcing this regulation resulted in another detailed regulation on trucks carrying prisoners was issued by the Camp Robinson headquarters in 1946.(84)

A typical day at one of the branch camps started with reveille, breakfast, and a 0600 roll call formation. The provost sergeant (such as Joe Kam) would then announce work assignments. Prisoners were usually assigned to the same details to work for the same farmers each day. A number of prisoners were assigned to work in the camp's maintenance and operation, such as the mess hall, cleaning the camp facilities, or assisting in picking up supplies for the camp. "Riding bosses" for the planters would arrive soon after to pick up the work details of 10-15 PWs and 2-3 guards. The landowners provided their own trucks. The PWs were generally assigned to the same farms, and over time the farmer-landowners and prisoners became friendly. The typical work was picking cotton in the fall or chopping cotton in the spring. At about noon a truck would arrive from the camp to deliver lunch. Later in the war, about 1945, lunch was reduced to bologna or peanut butter sandwiches carried out with the prisoners from the camp. By 1700 the prisoners were returned to the camp and a roll call was made again. Evening meal was at 1800, followed by free time for the prisoners or camp chores until evening roll call and "lights out." This routine was followed Monday through Saturday. Sundays allowed for worship in the morning with virtually all the day spent in the camp. Holidays were celebrated in style, often with local dignitaries and the major farmers as honored guests.

The camps continued to operate after the war for several months. The Earle camp was closed in February of 1946 and the prisoners loaded onto trains destined for Fort Dix, New Jersey.(85) For a period after the end of the war, the Wynne camp operated without U.S. Army guards, and depended upon the foremen of the using planters to supervise the prisoners.(86)

Contact between the former PWs and the people of eastern Arkansas continued after the war. Several letters from prisoners written after their return to Germany thanked their former "employers" for the kind and generous treatment received. One woman recalled her uncle looked healthier than the civilians in Germany when he returned home, and far better than the walking dead returnees from Soviet camps.(87) Several even asked directly for jobs working on the farms of their wartime employers.(88) Mabel Gieseck, an large plantation owner and manager in Parkin, hired a former prisoner named Roman Wirski to work on her farm.(89)

The use of prisoner of war labor in eastern Arkansas was only a small chapter in the lengthy plantation labor history of the Delta region. But the human stories and its contribution to the history of the home front in World War II illuminate many of the attitudes and practices of the time.


1. Robbie Moreland-Adams, "23,000 Germans Enter State During WWII," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette August 8, 1999, 23M.

2. Moreland-Adams, 23M.

3. Moreland-Adams, 27M.

4. Captain Charles N. Crain, "Instructions to Contractor for Prisoner of War Labor," a circular letter issued to the users of the Wynne PW camps labor details by the camp commander. No date, Lansing/Gieseck archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

5. Moreland-Adams, 23M.

6. Moreland-Adams, 23M.

7. Moreland-Adams, 23M and 27M.

8. All three guards suffer from heart problems and had bypass surgery within the last year.

9. W. B. Proctor and J. E. Hollan, copy of "Report to Commanding General, 8th Service Command, Dallas, Texas" dated January 18, 1945. E. C. Gathings archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

10. Proctor and Hollan, January 18, 1945.

11. Proctor and Hollan, January 18, 1945.

12. C. O. Wofford, Report to E. C. Gathings dated February 3, 1945. E. C. Gathings archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

13. Wofford, February 3, 1945.

14. Wofford, February 3, 1945.

15. Waldo Frasier, letter to E.C. Gathings dated June 8, 1944 reporting on the status of the branch camp program in Arkansas. E. C. Gathings archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

16. Proctor and Hollan, January 18, 1945.

17. Proctor and Hollan, January 18, 1945.

18. Joe Kamm, interview by author August 28, 1999, also photographs donated by Kamm to the Crittenden County Museum located in Earle, Arkansas. Then Sergeant Kamm served as the Provost Sergeant of the camp, responsible for scheduling prisoners and guards, and maintaining accountability of the prisoners and their records.

19. Margaret Elizabeth Woolfolk, A History of Crittenden County Arkansas, (Greenville, S. C.: 1991), 256.

20. George Cunningham, interview by author, August 10, 1999, Keiser, AR. Tape copy, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.. Then Sergeant Cunningham was the first sergeant and senior NCO at the Keiser camp. I interviewed him at his home which is in a neighborhood of houses built on the site of the former camp in Keiser.

21. Harry Keatts, interview by author, August 10, 1999, Osceola. Then Sergeant Keatts was the senior NCO at Victoria.

22. Lynn Adams, interview by author, August 10, 1999, Bassett, AR, tape copy, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

23. Adams, August 10, 1999.

24. Larry D. Ball and William M. Clements, Voices From State: An Oral History of Arkansas State University (Jonesboro, AR: Arkansas State University, 1984), 70.

25. Keatts, August 10, 1999.

26. Interviews with Harry Keatts, George Cunningham, and Joe Kamm.

27. Joe Kamm, interview with the author, September 11, 1999, Parkin AR. On this day Mississippi Valley Educational Programs re-created the Earle PW camp at Parkin Archeological State Park and Mr. Kamm visited the recreated camp and shared his memories for over three hours.

28. Kamm, September 11, 1999.

29. Kamm, September 11, 1999.

30. Proctor and Hollan, January 18, 1945 and Wofford, February 3, 1945.

31. R. A. Fisher, Letter to Cross County Farmer's Association dated November 26, 1944. Mabel Giesick/Lansing Company archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

32. E. C. Gathings, telegram to Ed Hollan, dated September 26, 1944. E.C. Gathings archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

33. Larry D. Ball and William M. Clements, Voices From State: An Oral History of Arkansas State University (Jonesboro, AR: Arkansas State University, 1984), 70.

34. R. E. Lee Wilson, IV, interview with author, August 10, 1999. Mr. Wilson did not witness this, but had heard the story locally many times. This is a likely possibility as the Wilson plantation had both the Victoria and Keiser camps on their property.

35. Mabel H. Gieseck, telegram to E. C. Gathings dated September 28, 1944. Copies of this telegram were found in both E. C. Gathings and the Lansing/Gieseck archives, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

36. E. C. Gathings, telegram to Mabel H. Gieseck, dated September 29, 1944. Copies of this telegram were found in both E. C. Gathings and the Lansing/Gieseck archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

37. R. A. Fisher, Memorandum for Users of Prisoners of War dated February 1, 1946. Lansing/Gieseck archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

38. Kamm, August 28, 1999.

39. Kamm, September 11, 1999.

40. Kamm, September 11, 1999.

41. R. A. Fisher, manager, Wynne Branch Camp, letter to all users of prisoner of war labor, dated January 30, 1946. Mabel Giesick collection, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University archives.

42. All three guards, Keatts, Cunningham, and Kamm stated that the camps could not have operated without the German interpreters.

43. Keatts and Kamm both thought that at times the interpreters were extorting favors or small items from the other prisoners to be assigned the easiest jobs on details.

44. George Cunningham, interview by author, August 10, 1999, Keiser, AR, tape recording, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University Archives.

45. Kamm, September 11, 1999. Sergeant Kamm can still repeat the commands, but only while shouting as he did in 1944-45.

46. Proctor and Hollan, January 18, 1945.

47. A. P. Dacus, Letter to E. C. Gathings dated September 28, 1944. E. C. Gathings archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

48. A. P. Dacus, September 28, 1944.

49. J. E. Hollan, letter to Wynne Prison Camp Association, dated June 5, 1945. Gieseck/Lansing Company archives, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

50. Keatts, August 10, 1999.

51. Kamm, Chandler tape, 1995.

52. Emil Knorr, personal letter to Mr. McDaniels, July 12, 1947. This letter is in the collection of the Crittenden County Museum in Earle, AR.

53. Cunningham, August 10, 1999.

54. Keatts, August 10, 1999.

55. Kamm, September 11, 1999.

56. Keatts, August 10, 1999.

57. Ball and Clements, 70.

58. Cunningham, August 10, 1999.

59. Ball and Clements, 70.

60. Terry Carty, interview in POWs in Arkansas, Mike Bowman, prod. and writer, (Jonesboro, AR: ASU TV Productions, 1999), videotape.

61. Kamm, September 11, 1999, and Chandler school interview.

62. Kamm, September 11, 1999.

63. Al Ashcraft, telephone interview with author, August 31, 1999.

64. Keatts, August 10, 1999.

65. Kamm, Chandler tape and interview September 11, 1999.

66. Kamm, September 11, 1999.

67. Margaret Elizabeth Woolfolk, A History of Crittenden County Arkansas, (Greenville, S. C.: 1991), 256.

68. Dr. Renate Rosenthal, letter to Joe Kamm September 3, 1999 on her uncle's experience in an unknown eastern Arkansas PW branch camp.

69. Personal visit by the author to Keiser, August 10, 1999.

70. Kamm, September 11, 1999.

71. Kamm, September 11, 1999.

72. Captain Charles N. Crain, letter to members of the Cross County Farmer's Association dated January 19, 1946. Lansing/Gieseck archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University archives.

73. J. E. Hollan, Cross County Farmers Association letter dated June 1, 1945. Mabel Gieseck/Lansing collection, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University archives.

74. Keatts, August 10, 1999.

75. Keatts, August 10, 1999.

76. Betty Alexander, interview by author, August 10, 1999.

77. R. F. Lawrence, letter to E. C. Gathings dated April 28, 1945. E. C. Gathings archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University archives.

78. Jesse McDermott, interview with the author, April 17, 2000.

79. E. C. Gathings, letter to Ed Hollan dated May 26, 1945. E. C. Gathings archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University archives.

80. E. C. Gathings, May 26, 1945.

81. Kamm, August 28, 1999.

82. Adams, August 10, 1999.

83. Mabel Gieseck, letter to Captain C. N. Crain, commander of Wynne PW camp dated December 7, 1945. Mabel Gieseck/Lansing collection, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University archives.

84. Harold H. Richardson, commander of Camp Robinson PW camp order to all branch camps dated February 15, 1946. Lansing/Gieseck archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University archives.

85. Kamm, Chandler tape, 1995.

86. Harold H. Richardson, Fraternization memorandum dat January 7, 1946. Giesick/Lansing archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

87. Dr. Renate Rosenthal, letter to Joe Kamm September 3, 1999 on her uncle's experience in an unknown eastern Arkansas PW branch camp. Copy in the author's possession.

88. Fritz Hentrich, letter to Mabel Gieseck dated December 2, 1947. Lansing/Gieseck archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University archives.

89. Rudolf Zeuke, letter to Mabel Gieseck dated November 28, 194? (not noted in letter), Gieseck/Lansing archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University.

Appendix A - Branch Camps in Arkansas(90)

90. Map and table of camps taken from Waldo Frasier, letter from the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation to E. C. Gathings dated June 8, 1944. E. C. Gathings archive, Special Collections, Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University. " " ' " " - " " - " "