POW Descendants Visit Camp King, Oberursel, Germany

As a member of the Camp King Historical Society, I occasionally write about the latest news, events, tours, etc.

That’s how Judy, a blog reader, found me and asked to enlist my help in getting a tour of the Camp King and the Klinik Hohemark from our historians, Mr. Kopp and Ms. Struck.

This is what Judy had to say:

My father was an American POW and spent time in the Hohe Mark hospital and Dulag Luft (later known as Camp King).  My son and I will be in the area touring sites connected to my father’s war experiences.

We leave for Koblenz right after our morning tour in Oberursel… and we are visiting a couple of different towns where my father’s plane crashed and where his crew member was buried.

Mr. Kopp, Judy and son Will, in the center, and Ms. Struck

The tour given by Mr. Kopp and Ms. Struck was a success, and later on I was able to catch up with our visitors as well.

Kuranstalt Hohe Mark, Oberursel

Hauptgebäude: main building

Kuranstalt: convalescent home

Based on my knowledge, this card dates back to about the 1930s.

Reflections of my Service at Camp King in Oberursel, Germany

This post has been contributed by Greg Cochran, who was stationed at Camp King in Oberursel, Germany during the period of 9 June 1971 through 17 August 1973 in Detachment A, The United States Army Reception Group, Europe (USARGE).

I was a Specialist Four in the U.S. Army assigned to Detachment A, USARGE. I lived in the barracks #1010, it was the barracks for soldiers in USARGE. Later some of us moved next door to barrack #1011 as we got more people in the unit. We lived at Camp King and the soldiers in Detachment A mainly worked out of a building at Rhein-Main Air Base during the day close to the flight line, when we weren’t processing soldiers for exercises in Germany, or some national guard units or on military exercises in Norway, Turkey, Greece and Italy.

When I was there, I missed out on going to Greece with Detachment A, because I was assigned to help with boarding U.S. military personnel going to the 1972 Olympic at the town of Dachau, W. Germany outside of Munich. The army base was closed, but several buildings were open to house military people going to the 1972 Olympic. These buildings were located in the old German army base three-story brick barrack (beside the concentration camp of Dachau), where they could sleep for two dollars a night and also could eat in the mess hall in the three-story barrack.

The German Eagles were still over the main doors of the three-story barrack from World War II, without the Nazis symbol below the eagles feet. Officers and female military personnel stayed overnight in the old military housing apartments. The base theater was also open to show movies at night for the people staying there.
The commanding officer of USARGE, when I ended my service in Germany, was LTC Edward R. Shore, JR., LTC, TC, Commanding.

I still have a picture of the arm band that we wore, when directing the soldiers off the planes onto the buses, which would take them to the area from where they would deploy for their military exercise.
Later, after the military exercise was finished, we would process them through customs, and put them on the planes for their trip back to their military bases in the U.S.

USARGE arm band

Below is a picture of Detachment A, USARGE, getting an award for a military exercise in Norway. I’m in the back row on the left * on the end and the award was given in the USARGE building on Camp King.

This is building #1005B, the same building that had the bowling alley upstairs on the end and the post exchange laundry under the bowling alley in the basement. The unit supply room were armory also were in the basement.

USARGE award ceremony

The commanding officer of USARGE, when I ended my service in Germany, was LTC Edward R. Shore, JR., LTC, TC, Commanding.

I have been back to Germany three times (for three weeks at a time) with the Ohio Army National Guard between 1992 and 1993, when they had the draw down of the army. The Ohio maintenance company I was in helped bring equipment up to standard for turn in. We worked long hours, so the equipment could be turned in on time, and units could be deactivated in Germany.

We were there to work and not to see the sites… I was sorry that I never got to see Camp King, while I was in Germany with the Ohio National Guard helping to turn in the military equipment. We were lucky to have any time off during the weekends.

I retired from the Ohio Army National Guard as a Master Sergeant and I really enjoyed my time in Germany, when I was stationed there at Camp King.
Camp King was a military base, where you could feel safe walking alone at night. My army friends and I enjoyed walking the trails in the woods on the weekends, in the old parts of the city in the narrow streets, and we also enjoyed the open restaurants with seating outside on the sidewalks along the streets of the town.
We also had our favorite German restaurants in Oberursel, that we would go to on the weekends as a group.

* The names of the guys, if available, will be added later.

Thanks, Greg, for sharing your experience of your service time in Germany.

German Lesson: das Rechenbrett

As a teacher and antiques collector, I always appreciate unique teaching material. When we lived in Japan in the early 1990s, I bought some antique abacuses/abaci, of which the big one had been used in the elementary school in its former days.

the abacus: das Rechenbrett (‘calculation frame’)

Abacus in Japanese elementary school

There are two more sizes – the bigger one in the next photo was used by students and adults (merchants, traders, etc.) and the small was for the hands of real young learners. Oops, I just realized the small one is upside down.

Abacus

Taken from The Abacus – A Brief History

Circa 1600 C.E., use and evolution of the Chinese 1/5 abacus was begun by the Japanese via Korea. In Japanese, the abacus is called Soroban. The 1/4 abacus, a style preferred and still manufactured in Japan today, appeared circa 1930. The 1/5 models are rare today and 2/5 models are rare outside of China (excepting Chinese communities in North America and elsewhere).

History Depot for Camp King Oberursel

Today’s opening ceremonies are still in full swing and are due to last for another three hours (at the time of writing).

This morning, I attended the first part of the Grand Opening with Mayor Blum giving a welcome speech. Mr. Kopp, the Camp King historian, gave an informative and witty presentation of the depot’s purpose. A U.S. American diplomat was also in attendance.

16 March Opening Ceremony

16 March Opening Ceremony

A close-up of Mr. Kopp during his presentation.

 Manfred Kopp during his talk

Manfred Kopp during his talk

The depot is now open and can be viewed. Here are some photos of the archived material.

Camp King 1956/57

Camp King 1956/57

Camp King Depot

Camp King entrance

Camp King entrance

 

Camp King cooler

Camp King cooler

I walked up to the Mountain Lodge which was advertised as Open Doors (with permission from the new owner) for the public in the afternoon.  While I was there around noon, the doors were still closed and did not even look like they would open up any time soon…

Mountain Lodge, Camp King

The Chapel

The Chapel

 

Door to the Mountain Lodge

Door to the Mountain Lodge

 

Door to the Mountain Lodge

Door to the Mountain Lodge

With one entrance overgrown by bushes and layered in snow, and the other one boarded up, I wonder what’s in store for the public to see.

 

 

Camp King and Memories Need a Home

Camp King in Oberursel

 1933 – 1993

 – Announcement –

Our Camp King historian, Manfred Kopp wrote:

I have been collecting material related to Camp King and its history, started an archive, given tours throughout the areal, answered many questions and kept in touch with anyone interested in the history since 2005.

Our first location for meetings and storing material was the “Treffpunkt Aktiv im Norden” (a church café), Im Rosengärtchen (an area adjacent to Camp King).

The current Kinderhaus in Camp King (address: Jean Sauer Weg 2) now offers a basement room to house the depot and the shared use of a community room on the first floor. This ensures the upkeep of the Camp King’s archives with the help of the Historical Society Oberursel.

Camp King archives at the Kinderhaus

Moving to this new facility also includes some special events listed for this month:

11 March 2013 (Monday) at  20:00 at Cityhall Oberursel, room E01.

 “Outside 7 – A house and its History”

Lecture and photo presentation by Manfred Kopp

Content:

Around 1921, the house “Außerhalb 7 “(a.k.a. the house by the forest) was built to serve as a residential building.

Then, in 1933, it became a university dorm for students of the University of Frankfurt.

In 1937, the house was reconstructed to serve as a community building for the school of agricultural settlers (Gausiederschule).

In 1939, the building became the commander’s post (Luftwaffe) for recording the prisoners coming through Oberursel.

In 1945, it became “House Florida” (history archives) for the US-Army.

In 1953, it was turned into “Haus 997” by the U.S. Intelligence.

Having had so many different uses and occupants, this house is a perfect time-line to illustrate the history 1933 – 1993

 

 

16. März 2013, Saturday, am “Kinderhaus”, Jean-Sauer Weg 2

 “Memories Need a Home”

 

11 Uhr: Major Brum’s welcome speech to the official opening of The Place to Remember (Erinnerungsort) in the basement of the Kinderhaus.

 12 Uhr: Lecture by Gerd Krämer on Memories Need a Home in the community room on the first floor.

 

13 – 16 Uhr Open House and Self-guided Tours through Camp King with:

*more information about the archives

*exhibition and historical background to Camp King

*flyers for self-guided tours around the area to points of interest such as the artist Thomas Kilpper’s work, memorial for Colonel Charles King, the Mountain Lodge (open doors), and Siedlerstraße.

 

 11. April 2013, Thursday, 19 Uhr, Community Room

 Browsing, Learning, and Networking

This invitation is for anyone who has contributed so far as well as newcomers. Please join us!

Organized by Manfred Kopp and Sylvia Struck