On March 3, 1943, during World War II, German Sergeant Erich Geissler was wounded in North Africa, captured by the English, and then transferred to the Americans. The prisoners were shipped to Norfolk, Virginia, where they boarded a train for Camp 202 in Greeley, arriving during January 1944.
In an October 13, 2003, letter to the Greeley Museums, translated from German, Geissler described prison life at Camp 202. He stated that initially each prisoner received new clothes. All outer wear "was labeled with crackly white letters that said PW (prisoner of war) on the back."
When a soccer field was built at Camp 202, all "twelve companies of men organized teams, and for three thousand prisoners, this provided suspenseful entertainment. Team jerseys were made from undershirts that the kitchen staff had dyed with red beets, onions, green vegetables. . ."
A few of the prisoners, including Geissler, objected to working for the American enemy. Geissler labored "at the oven with an iron, freelancing and ironing clothing for the fellow prisoners (pants, ten cents; shirt, ten cents; jacket, thirty cents)." Most of the rest of the prisoners worked on local farms for 80 cents a day.
Following the end of the war in May 1945, Geissler began his journey home and lived in Fichtelberg, Germany, until his death
in 2006. Geissler's 2003 letter closed with: "I thank God frequently, that I was able to spend a portion of that dreadful war... in Colorado. So it was for me, all in all, even as a prisoner, a part of my life that will always continue to be a good memory for me, Thank You, Greeley."
Top left: German Soldier, Sergeant Erich Geissler c1942 Image courtesy of the Geissler Family
Bottom left: Fences, Guard Towers and Dogs - Camp 202; Between 1943 and 1946
Image shows the mesh-wire fence three meters high topped with another one-meter high fence made of barbed wire erected parallel to a second similar fence. Between the fences were guard dogs. Every 100 meters there was a watch tower, each of these had two spotlights for strong security both day and night. Image courtesy of the City of Greeley Museums, ID# 1976.83.0007
Top right: Camp 202 Entryway Guardhouse - c1944 Image courtesy of the City of Greeley Museums, ID# 2006.47.0026
Bottom right: Geissler Family - c1955 Erich Geissler is seen here with his three children; Selma, Winfried, and Gerd. Image courtesy of the Geissler Family