Play recounts little-known chapter from WWII-era Colorado

Presence of German POWs near Greeley a central theme of ‘Beets’

By A.H. GoldsteinFor the Camera

Kathleen Gruman has deep roots in northern Colorado.

Gruman, a board member, director and actor atThe Moon Theatre Company, grew up in a farmhouse immediately

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south of Berthoud. The structure was infused with plenty of local history. Indeed, Gruman’s childhood home offered a solid sense of what had come before, a familiarity with the stories and struggles of her neighbors and her community.

Still, one chapter of local history remained unknown to Gruman, and plenty of others, until Colorado playwright Rick Padden presented his inaugural work to fellow artists in 2008.

“Beets,” a drama set in World War II-era Berthoud, detailed the hundreds of German POWs who were housed at prison camp 202 near Greeley during the height of the war. The play focuses on the prisoners who worked on Berthoud farms in 1942 and 1943, helping to harvest a bumper crop of sugar beets, even as the community’s young men were on the other end of the world, fighting in Europe.  ….

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