Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Soledad Branch Prisoner of War Camp
(Camp Soledad)
German Prisoners of War standing formation. (US Army Military History Institute)
Undated US Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District History
In 1944, the Department of Agriculture Emergency Rubber Project (ERP) transferred a total of 35.0 acres of land from the to the War Department. The site was used to house German prisoners of war used to meet the agricultural labor needs in the Soledad area, and was known as Soledad Branch Prisoner of War Camp. The site is located 40 miles southeast of Salinas, in Monterey County.
The camp was officially activated in accordance with 9th Service Command General Order Number 15 on 7 October 1944 under the command of First Lieutenant Harold K. Fisher. National Archives records show that German prisoners were still at Soledad as late as 31 March 1946 and that the camp was commanded by First Lieutenant Severin F. Leiker
In his report of 21-23 January 1945 on the Fort Ord Prisoner of War Camp, Luis Hortal wrote on only one of its four branch camps:
"...One of them - Soledad - which I visited looks as if it would be of a permanent character. The physical setup is very nice and the morale of the men is quite high. POWs and authorities are quite proud of their camp and activities in it. Their school program comprises thirteen different courses with a total of 387 students and 26 hours of classes per week. The also have a good orchestra and sports program, and at present are engaged with great interest in improving the grounds. It was a pleasure to meet with the leaders of the different activities and the different teachers and see their enthusiasm and eagerness to accept suggestions."


The improvements on the site included 10 barracks (one of which was for the guard force), three latrines, mess hall, administration building, automotive shop, and various other structures and utilities. The prisoners compound was secured by woven wire fences and four guard towers. The administration building and automotive shop were retained by the ERP, and not included in the transfer to the War Department.
In 1946, the 35.0 acres of land and improvements were transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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Historical Status Card - Post, Camp, Station and Air Field, US Army Center of Military History


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Updated 8 February 2016