WW II POW Camp Plaque

 

Located at 7897 Lake Road, Sodus  Point, NY 14555 on the north side of the road across from the Welcome to Historic Sodus Point sign

 

World War II POW Camp in Sodus Point

 

On this site, on September 7, 1944, Pine Camp was established and housed approximately 135 German prisoners-of- war. The property was previously owned by the Proseus family. At the camp, the prisoners were always guarded by 18 guards who either patrolled the perimeter of the enclosing barbed wire fence or manned three guard towers. The main reason for establishing the camp was the severe labor shortage in our area during the war. Fifteen prisoners were used to pick fruit and prune trees at what is now Burnaps Farm Market on Maple Avenue, Sodus and several other local farms. Others were trained for working in local canning factories such as Alton Canning. When working outside the camp, the POWs were sometimes loosely guarded. POWs were paid what was then and adequate wage and a certain amount was deducted each day and kept by the government to help maintain the camp. The prisoners had their own barber, Lutheran prayer leaders and a German doctor who was in charge of the infirmary.  The prisoners ate German style food cooked by German prisoners. For recreation, the prisoners played ping pong, soccer, horseshoes and swam in the lake.

 

The Great Escape

Well, not exactly. On the evening of December 8, 1945, two prisoners, Hans Brunn and Wily Hammerschag, scaled the fence in what would be the only escape from the camp. They had hoped to find work and send money back to their families in Germany. The two men were found 22 hours later in Lyons when several villagers reported strangers hanging around in downtown Lyons. Two guards were dispatched and returned the prisoners to the Sodus Point Camp. In the words of the prisoners: “The country is too large and the police are too efficient”.

 

The camp was deactivated on April 30, 1946 and the prisoners were trucked from Sodus Point to Virginia where they were put on ships and went either to England or Germany. It is a testament to the good treatment of the prisoners during their stay at Pine Camp, that after the war ended, several former prisoners returned and settled in our area.