Mrs. Eva Martha Knapp, with her 10th grade class, is researching Work Camp #7, in Dade City, Florida, a branch of Camp Blanding, Florida. The class was able to contact several ex-POW's who have returned to the site of their imprisonment. If you or anyone you know was a prisoner in this camp please contact her firstname.lastname@example.org The following is a letter they have received from Ludeke Herder to Eva Knapp , 9 January 1992.
Dear Mrs. Knapp & Dear Students,
I decided to let all work and other things wait and to
do my best to get this letter written, so that you and your
students can finish the research about the POW camp in
At first let me say thank you very much for your letter,
the letter of your students, and the copies of the interviews
with local people by students and about your telephone
interview with my friend, Mr. Bill Cox.
And now a few words to the statement of Bill:
1) McDonald's Mine. POW'S were at the mine to
help make bricks for the new fertilizer plant at Pasco.
Local people, your Mr. Bobby Meadows was right, on flat-
bed trucks ( from Pasco Packing) with the same color like
today (red), the Germans were brought to Brooksville. The
same trucks brought us to Lacoochee and Pasco, too.
2) Escaping of POW'S
Our artist didn't escape, unknown to me. But two
white POW'S escaped by box-car for a few hours. Ok, the
guard and Bill Cox figured out, we are short of two POW'S.
After FBI and the police (SHERIFF) from Dade City were at
the saw mill, what a mess in such a silent village and our
guard was running through the sawmill, too. the clever
sheriff ( I guess it was a friend of Bill Cox) said, dammed,
bring all the stuff from the beds (blankets,etc) of these two
guys to the sawmill, especially to that place, where the two
were working. The sheriff was sly and a police dog found a
track from this place to a place, where empty little
carriages stood, to bring the lumber from the saw to the
box car. Now its hard to ....with, or on, or by such a car
other POW'S pushed them to the box car. But the police
dog understood his profession and showed them all the
way and how they got into the car. I for myself, I didn't
know about the escaping, only a few did know it so I've
heard later. As the sheriff found them somewhere,
somebody tried to put them in handcuffs, but one of the
prisoners said, "We are prisoners of War and we thought
to get home, isn't it a shame?" The sheriff brought them
without handcuffs to our camp and later to Camp Blanding.
But the mulatto, Edmund was his name, he was an honest
boy, and did not escape. For years now I'm trying to find
him here in Germany, my friend Bill would like to know
what he is doing today. He was the only black POW I
After 28 or 30 days arrest at Camp Blanding they
came back to Dade City, but not allowed to work outside of
the barbed wire anymore.
3) a few words to Tampa Lutheran Church. From a
Roman -Catholic boarding school I think it was St. Leo or
so was his name, a Catholic priest came to our Camp
every Sunday for a worship and on weekdays for a dialog
or conversations. The same did an Evangelical priest, but
I don't know where he came from, perhaps Tampa, but I'm
not sure. Well, I'm protestant and on holidays like
Christmas, it was allowed for prisoners to go to a church at
Tampa to have a worship there, together with our guards
and by trucks from Pasco-Packing. And now my story and
you understand why I like Dade City or Florida and its
On Christmas day we could go to a Protestant-
Lutheran church in Tampa, to have a wonderful worship
there. Our guards were inside the church too, without
guns. After the worship, our guard told us to leave the
church through the same door, like we came in, but the
vicar told us to go through the door at the side of the
church. Our guard was mad, but allowed us to take the
other door, for we've Christmas. As we came through the
small door, we've been in a room with tables, the people
gave us cakes, candy and coffee and it was a wonderful
Christmas day and I never can forget such a kind gesture.
During my last visit in Florida, together with our friends
from Ocala, we went through Tampa to find the church, but
it was in vain. Perhaps somebody from your students has
a line to Lutheran Church in Tampa and can find the church,
perhaps you can find the church when I tell you, the vicar
came to our camp, his parish collected books for us, the
most of them in German. One thing I know, the vicar told
us, a lot of these books he has received from the relations
from a brewery owner in Tampa, who came from Germany
long ago. Busch? Perhaps you can find the church and
you can understand, why I would like to see again this
church in Tampa.
4) To the sentence about the cupcakes, pies and
point p231 ( the very informative book) about general
conditions in POW camps.
Not allow the US citizens, we Germans too in
American POW camps, we saw the movies about the full
horror of the Concentration Camps in Germany. I was
shocked and my friends, too. Well, it's true, after the war
was over, our diet was cut even more drastically. Well, no
Germans starved, but nearly all of them lost weight, me
too. So our American friends saw it at our workplace, they
gave us to eat. For example, the big fireplace in the saw
mill, Mr. Luther was working there to keep the fire burning,
the whole year over. In the breaks, white or black worker
came to that place to smoke a cigarette there. Also their
wives came to this place with the lunch. From an older negro, his wife came with his lunch, and I got my lunch,
too. During my visits, twice I was searching for this black
guy, I don't know his name, his wife said only, take it and
eat, you could be my son, he is somewhere in Europe. Mr.
Luther is dead, but he lived in hotel in front of the sawmill,
but there are a lot of blacks in
Lacoochee. Too bad, but I would
like to meet him today.
Dear Mrs. Knapp, dear students, its late now and I
think it's enough for today. In next day, I start to answer
the questions of you students all.