Beets by Rick Padden
It was 1944. They were young, strong, and good workers, but they were German soldiers on American soil: POWs from Camp 202 in Greeley. They worked as stoop laborers in the sugar beet fields of Northern Colorado. There were 3,000 held in Greeley, part of the 400,000 brought to the States during World War II. Those who volunteered went to work in the fields around Berthoud, Loveland, Fort Collins, Windsor, Johnstown, Longmont, Niwot and down south around Camp Carson.
While many area farmers were of Russian-German descent themselves and welcomed the Germans openly, POWs in their fields didn't sit well with some. It was, after all, the height of the war in Europe; they had sons, brothers, nephews, and neighbors fighting German soldiers just like the blonde-haired boys in their fields. They also had daughters in the farm houses overlooking those fields. But the work had to get done. The beets were needy. They had no choice.
"Beets" is a two-act original work by local playwright Rick Padden. The historical-fiction work was inspired by actual events and researched through newspaper articles, letters, other historical documents and interviews.