Friday, May 28, 2010

Review of Horst Freyhofer Visit to the Aliceville Museum

Horst Freyhofer has been retracing some of his father's footsteps during WWII, and that project led him to the Aliceville Museum on March 11. Christian Freyhofer was a German POW at Camp Aliceville. He had been drafted to fight for Germany in Russia in 1940. Later he was taken prisoner by the British in North Africa. After recovering from serious injuries, he was shipped to the US and spent time in POW camps in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.

Freyhofer's children remember him telling stories of how hot is was and how he worked hard "in the swamps." He said he was treated well and even respected by American soldiers and some civilians he encountered, at least until after the German surrender in 1945.

During Christian Freyhofer's time in Camp Aliceville, he was able to pursue his love of acting, and he performed in plays the POWs put on, including Heinrich von Kleist's Der Zerbrochene Krug (shown in photo at upper right). Later, Freyhofer was sent to Camp Gordon Johnston in Lanark, Florida, which was a training camp for American amphibian soldeirs as well as a POW camp location. (NOTE: Hermann Blumhardt also spent time in this camp.)

"It is astounding how much freedom and opportunities POWs had expressing themselves...," said Christian's son Horst in an April 9 thank you letter to the Aliceville Museum. Horst and his brother Udo left Germany for the US to pursue opportunities in "the new world." They were both inspired by their father who told them about the decent treatment and material comfort he experienced at Camp Aliceville. "Descriptions of the food he ate made our mouths water," wrote Horst. "Emaciated kids, that we were, we could only marvel at his descriptions of things we had never heard about, such as pineapples, avocados or shrimp. No wonder we eventually came over here to see for ourselves."

NOTE: The above information is based on an article in the May 2010 issue of Museum News.

The Aliceville Museum, like many other wonderful historical locations, is experiencing difficult times during the current economic challenges. If you are interested in helping preserve WWII history, which the Aliceville Museum is doing so effectively, please consider becoming a museum member. An individual membership is only $25. You can also become a sponsor for a contribution of $100 or more. Contact the museum at

In addition to monetary support, the Aliceville Museum always welcomes donations of artifacts. Here are some of the things currently on their wish list:






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