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Bury St Edmunds Town Council urged to support request for Prisoner of War camp memorial on Hardwick Heath





A woman whose father was held in the Bury St Edmunds Prisoner of War camp has asked a council to reconsider installing a memorial at the site.

Cllr Paul Hopfensperger last week pitched the idea for the memorial to Bury St Edmunds Town Council but after several councillors said they would not support it, he withdrew his request.

But Sophie Wright, 30, whose father Rudolf Gross was one of 2,000 prisoners held at the camp on Hardwick Heath along with Cllr Hopfensperger’s father Johann, said she was ‘shocked’ by the reaction.

Sophie Wright read our article about Bury St Edmunds town councillors rejecting Paul Hopfensperger's idea for a Prisoner of War camp memorial and wants to ask them to reconsider..Her father Rudolf Gross was a prisoner there and because of the treatment he received at the camp from the people of Bury, he chose to stay in the town. ..Pictured: Sophie Wright and brother Karl Gross...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (6200363)
Sophie Wright read our article about Bury St Edmunds town councillors rejecting Paul Hopfensperger's idea for a Prisoner of War camp memorial and wants to ask them to reconsider..Her father Rudolf Gross was a prisoner there and because of the treatment he received at the camp from the people of Bury, he chose to stay in the town. ..Pictured: Sophie Wright and brother Karl Gross...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (6200363)

“I’d just like the council to reconsider the request. That part of the community really treasured their memories and I also treasure them because it’s my history too - without that camp, I would never have been here,” she said.

And Sophie believes that the memorial is important not just for those who were kept at the camp and their families but for the whole community.

“A lot of people I’ve spoken to didn’t realise it was there. I think when people have given something back to our town, it’s important to keep their memory alive,” said Sophie, whose father, who originally hailed from Germany, lived in Hospital Road until he died aged 91 two years ago.

“My dad would have absolutely adored the memorial. I can just picture he and Johann standing next to it getting their picture taken with big smiles on their faces.”

Cllr Hopfensperger said he would request that the item was added to the council’s January agenda after receiving ‘overwhelming’ support for the idea on social media.