Ten Years of Research on Camp King Oberursel

Back in January 2007, Graham Tappenden from AllThingsGerman asked me to do a podcast with him about the history of Camp King. At that time, I had no idea what else was there to come.

Camp King Oberursel – aerial view

Through the podcast, we stirred more interest in the topic, which caused me to do a bit more research. Since then, I have been blogging about the end of the former Camp King post and its morphing into a German settlement.

We’ve had visiting authors, such as Annie Jacobsen (author of Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America), and other visitors from the U.S. tracing their fathers’ WW II time in Oberursel. We have hosted ‘Open House’ events and tours through Camp King.

In 2012, I posted my first video about Camp King Oberursel on YouTube. The Candy Bomber came for a visit in 2013, and much more.

I’ve seen former military personnel searching for loved ones left behind, and looking for bars they used to go to. Others inquired about the goat farm, and whether the bakery on Hohemarkstraße is still there, etc. Through the readers’ questions I’ve learned much more about the history, and I hope to keep sharing it with you.

Somewhere down the line, I became  a member of the Camp King research group.

This blog is having its 11-year anniversary on 6 December 2017.

If you like my content, you can support me via paypal.me/MariaShipley

The ‘Goat Farm’ on Camp King, Oberursel

There has never been a ‘goat farm’ on Camp King in Oberursel, hence the quotation marks. The U.S. soldiers stationed there liked to refer to this piece of land, with just one mean goat, as the ‘goat farm’.

One of my readers, a former soldier stationed there from 1966 to 1968, wanted to know what happened to the goat farm. I asked someone who would know, our historian Manfred Kopp, and this is what he had to say.

There has never been a goat farm.

The School of Agriculture (Siedlungshof) hosted a big array of chickens, rabbits and some sheep. On the sheep meadow, right next to the prison camp, the POW prisoners were allowed to do sports, especially soccer. The meadow was not secured by barbwire, unlike the camp itself.

On this meadow, there was a small hutch with a goat,  notorious for its aggression towards the prisoners. One incident made this goat especially famous. When one group of prisoners  were able to escape on Pentecost 1941, one of the guys, Roger Bushell, was able to hide in the same hutch under the straw and muck, and got a head start by several hours. He escaped several hours before the rest of the group, and was able to head south.

The same goat was also featured in Thomas Killper’s art work next to the Kinderhaus (formerly Kommandur Haus). Look for #20 to see the goat and its hutch on the map.

This is a close-up of the actual art work. With this, the goat has become eternalized.

The location of this meadow with hutch can be found on the map, listed in the article ‘Flieger ohne Flügel’ (reprint S. 262). Number 7 on the map lists the ‘Sportplatz’ (sports field).

Today, the so-called goat farm is still green. It is part of the Camp-King Park, on the corner of Camp King Allee and Elvis-Presley-Weg. The park itself is almost 10 acres in size.

Corner of Camp King Allee and Elvis-Presley-Weg, entrance to the park

Camp-King Park in Oberursel

One feisty goat was enough to leave this little story behind.

Quote of the Day

Be proud of your pain, for you are stronger than those with none. – Lois Lowry

It’s a rare occasion for me to have actually met the author of a published quote. In this case, I have. Lois Lowry came as a guest speaker to Frankfurt International School (FIS) many years ago. At that time, we had a chance to talk – about both of our years spent in Japan (hers as a military child and mine much later as a young wife), and how she lost a son on military duty in Germany. Her son, a USAF major, was killed in the crash of his fighter plane in 1995.

This quote immediately brought her loss to mind.

More on that fateful day, 30 May, 1995, in the article Placing Blame at any Cost by Mark Thompson: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,135113,00.html

Her book, The Giver, for which she received the Newbery Medal, can be found here (for learners of English at B1 language proficiency level):

Life at the Motor Pool Oberursel, Germany, in the 1950s

Jack Stites, a former U.S. Army soldier and now a retired police officer, was stationed in Oberursel at the Motorenfabrik (Motor Pool) from January 1954 to January 1955. Here are some more photos he shared with me.

The guys at work

Shaving cream fight

Vehicles parked near the Urselbach Creek

A description of a wrecker

In front of the Motor Pool Oberursel, with men working underneath the vehicle

Easter Egg Decorations in Germany

We have just returned from a visit to my hometown in Franconia (northern Bavaria). In those rural parts of Germany, where traditions and customs are still more present, we passed by some interesting Easter decorations in the middle of the villages.

Our first stop was in Zeilitzheim to buy some wine from Wein von 3.

Our second stop was in Schonungen, where we rented a vacation apartment at Ferienwohnung Gräf for two days.

Another stop was in the village of Hambach, where I grew up, and we went to visit my parents’ grave.

This tradition is a beautiful spring marker, and I hope there will always be enough volunteers to continue this.