Former POW Guard Honored in East Texas - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/14/07 - Lufkin

Former POW Guard Honored in East Texas

by Ramonica R. Jones

Native New Yorker Ben Weber is the only Military Police Escort left in East Texas. He transported German Prisoners of War to different camps throughout the country during World War II on the POW train.

"We separated and brought them over here so they could work different things - some in the mills, some out in the woods - and that was our job, to see if they performed what they were supposed to do," said Weber. 

Wednesday, the Texas and Angelina County historical commissions unveiled a marker at what was known as 'Camp 1' during the mid 1940s. Weber's days as a military guard are over, but he still keeps track of what's happening with our armed forces.

"Nobody likes war and I'm sure that the men over there would like to see it come to some conclusion. But we sure don't wanna pack up and leave those people over there not having somebody to help them get to their conclusion that they want."

Weber said prisoners were taken care of during their stay in Angelina County. The men were used to harvest trees and preserve the timber industry in East Texas. The 83-year-old said he never thought he'd live to see the day when he'd get recognized for what he did more than 60 years ago.

"It's the sweetest thing that's happened in my life - to know that people care about what you've done and would show it by [unveiling a] plaque - because I spent part of my life here."

For several years, Weber was stationed at the Huntsville Camp on the Trinity River. He came back to Angelina County a year after the war.

Lufkin is the only Texas town to have two POW camps during World War II. Camp 1 was built on what is now Raguet Street. Camp 2 was located where Lufkin Middle School now stands.

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