A Guide to the Jane Gayl Pejsa Collection, 1944-2001
At the end of World War II, Texas held more than 78,000 prisoners of war in 14 military camps and seven base camps. Most of these prisoners were German, many of them captured from Gen. Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps in April 1943. Texas had twice as many POW camps as any other state, housing prisoners in school buildings, fairgrounds, and tents. Prisoners in Texas became a labor source, working on farms, roads, and wartime construction projects.
The Jane Gayl Pejsa Collection includes materials from former prisoner Hans Joachim Döring, as well from as her husband, Franz Gayl, that describe their experiences as Texas POWs in Camp Maxey. An infantry-training camp north of Paris, Texas, Camp Maxey was active from 1942 through 1945. At its peak, the camp held more than 7,000 prisoners.
"Camp Maxey," Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed May 3, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/QBC20.
Kramer, Arnold P. "German Prisoners of War," Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed May 3, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qug01.
Kramer, Arnold P. "When the Afrika Korps Came to Texas." Accessed May 3, 2016, http://www.humanitiestexas.org/sites/default/files/article-attachment/Krammer_article_FINAL.pdf.
The Jayne Gayl Pejsa Collection consists of four documents relating to German World War II prisoners in the United States, with attention given to Camp Maxey, near Paris, Texas.
A German-language guidebook published as an educational tool for German prisoners, Kleiner Führer durch America, was owned by Hans Joachim Döring of Marbach, Germany. It is inscribed with the name and prison number of its original owner, Emmanuel Holzwarth. Döring’s prisoner of war memoir, "1691 Tage Kriegsgefangenschaft," includes discussion of his time at Camp Maxey.
Research papers by Rafael A. Zagovec and Jane Pejsa include interviews with German POWs. Pejsa’s paper When the Afrika Corps came to Texas includes information from her husband Franz Gayl, a prisoner at Camp Maxey beginning in 1943.
This collection is open for research use.
Jane Gayl Pejsa Collection, 1944-2001, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Colleen Hobbs, May 2016.
Detailed Description of the Papers