Posted by: notsofancynancy | July 24, 2012

The Picture the German Prisoner Drew

Drawn by a German Prisoner

For those of you who follow my blog and have read my post Death of a Friend you know that some of the last words my dear friend spoke to me was about this picture. He wanted to make sure I got a chance to see it. He was so far into the dying process on my last visit I was surprised that when I kissed him goodbye he came back to consciousness and said “Did you get to see that picture that the German drew?” This was the picture he was referring to.

This message is attached to the photograph

Drawn by a Germon [sic] prisoner of war in 1944 prison camp located in Inginolia [sic] Nebraska. Pencil and paper was all that he used.

He never told me the actual story of how the picture was acquired, at the time it did not seem important. Now I am sorry I did not ask for the details.

I of course had to research this information. I know that my friend was born in 1932 and raised in Nebraska. I found no Inginola in Nebraska but I did find an Indianola and it did have a POW camp, so I have to believe that this is the right city. Also I found a great article where some college kids did an archeology dig there. If you page down through pictures there you will find some artwork the POW’s did on one of the walls. Could this have been the same artist who drew the picture above?

(Click here to see the article and pictures at

According to Nebraska

In Nebraska, approximately 12,000 prisoners of war were held in camps across the state. Scottsbluff, Fort Robinson, and the village Atlanta (outside Holdrege) were the main base camps. There were many smaller satellite camps at Alma, Bayard, Bertrand, Bridgeport, Elwood, Fort Crook, Franklin, Grand Island, Hastings, Hebron, Indianola, Kearney, Lexington, Lyman, Mitchell, Morrill, Ogallala, Palisade, Sidney, and Weeping Water. Altogether there were 23 large and small camps scattered across the state.

Sadly the walls have been tore down there at the old POW camp. If you look around on the website you will find some current pictures of the old camp. There is really not much left now. The end of an area.

With this post I hope to keep this memory alive for my friend. When we were talking one day he told me that he wanted to be remembered. I will never forget you Harold and I hope many people read this, it is an awesome piece and an awesome story.


  1. So glad you are writing about this era….. when our generation is gone, it will just be words in a history book… but articles like this will keep the memories and feelings alive.

    • I am learning so much too. It has been interesting to say the least. Thanks for the kind words. The really mean a lot.

      • My aunts uncle was a psychiatrist in 1944 at camp indianola and she has 4 very neat pictures that were drawn by a prisoner. is it possible that this could be the same man. i can give you the name and perhaps take a picture of these if you want, thank you

      • Sorry I did not get back to you sooner. I have been in Colorado for ten days just got home. I would love to see the pictures you have and get the mans name. It would be awesome if I could add more to this story.

      • Hi. I am the president of the Indianola Historical Society here in Indianola Nebraska. I see you linked my web page about the camp here on your blog. The camp has a lot of history during those years it was open. We are collection any and all things from and about the German prison camp. We would really appreciate any pictures, or copies of these pictures that any of you would share with us. Please email me at
        Thank you,

      • Hi Bill! Great to meet you! I will contact you at your email address.

  2. You are a good friend Nancy and are doing so much for a generation that has been forgotten by many.

    • Thank you so much. I am blessed with people like you who are interested in reading what I have to say.

  3. Eerie and beautiful. Inspiring and sad, too. Thank you for honoring his wishes!

    • And thank you for taking a moment to leave such a wonderful comment.

  4. Are you sure this is a pencil drawing and not a picture? I’m just asking. If it is a pencil drawing, it has amazing detail!!!! 🙂

    • Yes drawn in pencil. I inspected the actual picture and you can tell. It may look like a picture because I am taking the picture through the glass of the picture frame?? It IS amazing!

  5. I thank you for sharing him and his story and the picture. Don’t you just wonder who the child is? Where the child might now be? What the child meant to the POW who drew him? Wow. I will keep wondering about that.

    • I can answer some of those questions. The child was my friend who passed away. He was 12 in 1944. The picture seems like it is of a younger child but maybe not. What I found through my research is they allowed to prisoners to work for the farmers around the camp. I am not sure if my friends parents farmed but most people in Nebraska did or they worked for someone who did. Sadly my friend is gone now and we have no way of finding out what their relationship was. He does have a brother still in Nebraska I can only hope one day he will find this and may be able to add something to this already wonderful story.

      • I hope so too! Thank you for sharing even more.

  6. This is a good effort on your part, notsofancynancy, to preserve the times and experiences of our fathers and grandfathers. Certain German POW’s were allowed to “work” on neighboring farms and businesses as you know. Most prisoners were glad to be alive and did not abuse their privileges.

    • I also read that after the war the POW’s did not want to go home and I can’t say that I blame them.

  7. Bless his soul and you for being there to comfort him. That’s a beautiful artwork. Archeology is so interesting. It’s hard to reconcile what happens to innocent people during wartime. Imagine having to leave your home and being held in a camp, heartbreaking.

    • It was a confusing time. From what I have read we did not treated as badly as they treated our POW’s, but still sad.

  8. They had prisoner of war camps in my hometown during the War. My mother told us stories of seeing them work on the surrounding farms when she was a little girl. Thanks for sharing this story. It brough back memories.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read my post and comment. It is good to hear others remember.

  9. Interesting piece of history. I know very little about the prison camps here in this country.

    • I did not know about them before I wrote this piece. I am glad I know more about them now. It was certainly interesting. Thank for stopping by.

  10. I wasn’t aware of them, and this is a very interesting bit of history. The artwork is absolutely beautiful, btw…

    • It was strange hearing the story as I did not know we have over 12,000 POW’s in the states. Especially in my dad’s home state of Nebraska. It does not seem as though they taught us about it in school. But I may just not remember. How can we not know that?

      • I hate to sound cliche’ but there was a lot that we didn’t get taught. I can’t recall the name of the book I read not too long ago, but I’ll get it… It talks just exactly about that.
        I went to the Historical Society here in Del Norte county a few days ago, where they have a good sized museum. Lots of info on the logging of the beautiful redwoods,, and the mining, and what it did to the land. A fantastic display of Native American basketry, photos, clothing, etc… Nothing about the history, and there ‘s a HUGE Indian population here. It pissed me off… Secrets, secrets, I don’t like secrets. I’ll get back to ya.

  11. . . . your friend shall be remembered w/ out hesitation of any kind~ this is such an awesome share! •°•<3

    • Thank you sweet sister friend. It really mean a lot to have you here. God Bless

  12. Your blog is so full of interesting information. The pictures that were on the wall were really cool. Too bad they did not save them. As I saw that picture from your friend wonder if that was the POW’s brother back in Germany – how they must have missed their families. When we were stationed at Ft Gordon, GA, we found out during the war they also housed German POW’s. There is a small cemetery there with some of the POW’s that died while there. Up till then I never knew that the German POW’s were brought back to the states. I had learned most of them were put to work on the farms. Blessings – Patty

    • It has been an interesting journey. I did not know either and then not until I was able to get copies of my friends picture. Even though he told me a German POW drew it we had been talking about his time in the Navy and was telling me that he did not serve during war time. I did not put two and two together until I actually inspected the picture myself and saw the note that was attached. Then it all came together when I started researching it. Very interesting that my friend grew up in a small Nebraska town the same as my father, although they were years apart. Both paths led me back to Nebraska.

  13. Hi everybody. My granddad has been in the camp as a POW and I made the trip to Indianola in 1996, talked to some people in the city and also visited the Museum of the high plains. This was very exciting for me, coming from a very small town in Germany. I also had the opportunity totalk to my grandfather about my visit which was really moving. There was a lot of frustration, anxiety and humaneness on either side in these confusing times. Glad he came back – staying in England for another year of farm work in between. All the best to you.

    • Hi Robert,

      Thank you so much for your interesting comment. I am really glad you made the trek here. God Bless

  14. My Uncle Dale Corder was a pilot and with his wife my Aunt Alice and cousins lived in quarters at the Indianola Camp. I remember staying with them on different ocassions. What memories this site has brought back. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a message. Also just want to thank you for your uncle’s service. God Bless

  15. Excited about this page. Grew up in Paisade, Ne in the 40’s. We had a small German pow camp. The prisoners were treated well. I became friends with one, tho we couldn’t speak each other’s language. We “visited” through the fence. This was the second location for the pows. The ladies in town baked pies, cakes etc. It was good for us to have these young men there, because we learned that they were human beings, and very much like us, with families, spouses, homes, schools etc. I know there are lots of stories from this camp and I would like to read some. One story goes that one of the prisoners “escaped” with a stolen bike from a farm where he worked but was soon caught, heading for California. He had thot the USA was about the same size as Germany and that he would reach the coast in a couple days on that bike.
    No, none of this about pows in the usa was ever taught in school, and you will find that many people do not believe this ever happened. We also heard that many of the prisoners didn’t want to return, but were not allowed to stay. I had wondered if any Germans had returned to the usa, or had any contact with anyone here after the was, so it was good to read the note from one prisoner’s granddaughter..
    This site is such a blessing…very heartwarming. Thanks…

    • Thanks you so much for adding your experience to our comments. I only knew the POW camp existed because we have one not far from where I live in So Cal. It was a time that needs to be preserved and learned from. Thanks again!

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