• Photo by Roxanne Thompson/The Mexia News
    The family of a former POW who was held captive in Mexia during World War II poses, on their recent visit to the United States, in front of one of the three remaining wooden barracks housing those POWs. Shown here are Eyke and Beate Isensee and their 19-year-old daughter, Karen Isensee, all German citizens.
  • These three artifacts remain from the 1943-46 incarceration of German POW Wilhelm Isensee, which his family treasure as a link to their loved one’s history: the German-English dictionary he was issued, and a pair of pilot-style sunglasses and a cigarette roller, both of which he bought with the scrip he earned working in the camp. Isensee’s son and daughter-in-law, Eyke and Beate Isensee, and their daughter, Karen Isensee, visited the former camp, now the Mexia State Supported Living Center, on May 1.
  • Wilhelm Isensee served in the German armed forces for much of his military career, which spanned from the early 1920s to the mid-1940s. He spent 1943-46 with other German officers in a POW camp in Mexia.
  • In this photo, circa the early 1920s, Wilhelm Isensee is seen second from right. This was early in his military career and was taken somewhere in Germany, where he was training for the cavalry.
  • German Corporal Wilhelm Isensee, on the front row, third from left, is seen with fellow officers in front of a monument to the German Kaiser, circa 1926. His son, Eyke Isensee, believes the monument was on the Rhine River, near Cologne.

German family sees Mexia camp where POW held

By Roxanne Thompson, Staff Writer

A German man and his family traveled to Mexia last week to see the former POW camp where his father was held captive by the United States during World War II. 

Eyke (Í-kuh) and his wife, Beate (Bee-áh-tuh), Isensee (Í-zen-see), and their daughter, Karen Isensee, flew to Houston and first visited Bandera, northwest of San Antonio, to enjoy horseback riding; then drove through Mexia on their way back to Houston, hoping they might get a glimpse of the former camp, where Eyke’s father, Wilhelm Isensee, spent three years of his life.

The mother and daughter had originally hoped to tour the West Coast, but when Eyke shared his long-time wish to see the POW camp, they changed their plans to fulfill Eyke’s wish.

“I’m so glad to be here,” Beate said

“When we came here we didn’t know what to expect,” Karen said. “We thought we might not see anything of the old prisoner of war camp.”

Many Mexia residents are aware of the fact that the campus of what is now the Mexia State Supported Living Center was a POW camp for German officers in World War II. A few of the older Mexia residents remember seeing the POWs and interacting with them.

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Groesbeck Journal! You can also subscribe online or call 254-729-5103.

Groesbeck Journal

P.O. Box 440
Groesbeck, TX 76642
Phone: 254-729-5103
Fax: 254-729-0362