JAMES D. VEATCH CAMP BRECKINRIDGE MUSEUM & ARTS CENTER
The year was 1942 and the United States Government was in need of an infantry training site for their troops during World War II. The place was Union County, Kentucky, where over 35,000 acres were utilized in the construction of 1,800 buildings to accommodate over 250,000 total troops. The camp was named in honor of Kentuckian John Cabel Breckinridge, Vice President of tghe United States and a Major General in the Civil War.
In addition to operating as an infantry training center, Camp Breckinridge was used as a prison camp for as many as 3,000 German prisoners-of-war. It was these prisoners of war that transformed Camp Breckinridge from a piece of history to a work of art.
Daniel Mayer, a German soldier who served under General Rommel at the African Front, was captured in Tunisia on April 23, 1943. He was transported to the prison compound at Camp Breckinridge.
As a paid worker, Mayer began painting the walls of the ballroom in the NCO club with beautiful murals depicting scenes from Europe. He also painted the bar and dining room with his own unique style and artistic ability. Mayer died at Camp Breckinridge in 1945 and is buried at Fort Knox along with four other German prisoners-of-war.
Some of Mayer's murals
In the heart of Western Kentucky, there is a truly unique place that offers a fascinating piece of history at the same time an amazing work of art. Step back in time to the era of World War II and the ageless art of German POW Daniel Mayer. His art will awe you as you enter the breathtaking ballroom of the WWII NCO Club at Camp Breckinridge.