Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day 2009

Greenleaf Lodge has an interesting history. Built in 1937 by the WPA as part of the Greenleaf Recreation Area, it was attached by the U.S. Army as part of Camp Gruber and was used as an officer's club while the installation was greatly expanded during world war II. Camp Gruber was used as a training camp, then later as a Prisoner of War camp for German soldiers captured during Rommel's campaign in North Africa.

The German soldiers were housed and fed in equivalent facilities as the American serviceman who went through training here. They were used to do construction on facilities and roads in the camp and surrounding area. Compared to the conditions they suffered in North Africa as German soldiers, they considered themselves very fortunate to be interred in this picturesque countryside.

For a more complete history of Camp Gruber as a POW camp look Look HERE

Many found themselves on friendly terms with the American citizens they encountered during their confinement and looked back on this period as a positive experience. A surprising number of these men returned years later with wives and children to see where they spent the final years of the war.

For a related article from the Tulsa World, Look HERE