History Nebraska Blog

An Artist’s View of the Fort Robinson Prisoner of War Camp

Source: Gerd and Katrin HellerDuring World War II there were 126 Prisoner of War (PW) camps in the United States. Fort Robinson, Nebraska had one of these camps. By the end of the war, this camp consisted of 160 temporary buildings, and housed three thousand inmates, and several hundred military guards, interpreters, 1938 photo of Otto Eichentopf.  Source: Gerd and Katrin Hellerand other camp personnel.

Recently the Nebraska State Historical Society received a wonderful donation from relatives of one of those prisoners.

This drawing of Barracks 349 shows the cots and belongings of three prisoners. Notice that the bags tied to each cot are labeled “EICHENTOPF,” “SCHUHNLENZ,” and “SCHWERDT.”  The drawing was donated by relatives of Otto Eichentopf, who was a Prisoner of War at Fort Robinson in 1945.

Source: Gerd and Katrin Heller

1938 photo of Otto Eichentopf. Source: Gerd and Katrin Heller

Next to Eichentopf's name is the logo for the US Army Signal Corps. Source: Gerd and Katrin Heller.

The artist’s last name is difficult to read. His first name appears to be Carl and below it says “Köln,” perhaps meaning that he was from Köln, Germany. We have been trying to decipher his last name, and think it could be Heinscher. We Detail of Drawing 13210-1would love to learn more about the artist if anyone out there has more information.

Detail of Drawing 13210-1

Thank you to Gerd and Katrin Heller for this wonderful donation.

-Laura Mooney, Senior Museum Curator

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