CPS Unit Number 151-01

CPS Unit Number 151-01

Camp: 151

Unit ID: 1

Title: Roseburg Veterans Hospital

Operating agency: MCC

Opened: 12 1945

Closed: 12 1946


CPS Unit No. 151, a Mental Hospital unit located at Roseburg Veterans Hospital in Roseburg, Oregon operated by Mennonite Central Committee, opened in December 1945 and closed in December 1946. Men worked with patients in the wards.

Roseburg, Oregon, United States
Location Description:

Roseburg Veterans Hospital was located in Roseburg, Oregon.  This Mennonite Central Committee mental health unit within the hospital opened in December 1945 and closed in December 1946.  

A large complex constructed in 1933, the hospital included “three general hospital buildings, convalescent buildings, service structures and residences for the manager, nurses and officers”.  It also connected an older structure, the former State Soldiers Home,  converted to administrative offices.  In 1937 the Veterans Administration opened a neuro-psychiatric ward with a capacity of 670 patients. (http://uvarts.com/uvaa-history/)

Camp staff:

Directors: Karl Schultz, Harold Duerksen

The people:

Twenty-five men made up the unit.


Men in Mennonite camps and units, when entering CPS reported religious affiliation with various Mennonite denominational groupings. 


On average they had completed 10.45 years of education when entering CPS, with fifteen percent having completed 1-3 years of college.  Another seven percent had either graduated from college or completed some graduate education.  Fifty-nine percent reported their occupations on entry into CPS as farming or other agriculture work.  Twenty-three percent when entering CPS reported occupations in technical and professional work or business management, sales and public administration (Sibley and Jacob p. 171-72)

The work:

The men worked with former soldier patients at the hospital. 

The staff instituted an orientation program immediately on the arrival of the assignees.  Each CO spent three days on each ward to see how the various types of mental illnesses were treated.

Camp life:

The men published a camp paper The CO Hypo.


Most hospitals provided men with room and board and a small allowance for personal expenses.  COs received no salary.


The hospital appreciated the efforts of the conscientious objectors, and the assignees appreciated what the hospital “has done to make our stay worthwhile”.  (from The CO Hypo  [Nov. 30, 1946] in Gingerich p. 274)


For more information on Mennonite mental hospital and training school units, see Melvin Gingerich, Service for Peace: A History of Mennonite Civilian Public Service. Akron, PA: Mennonite Central Committee printed by Herald Press, Scottdale, PA 1949, Chapter XVI pp. 213-251.


See also Alex Sareyan, The Turning Point: How Persons of Conscience Brought About Major Change in the Care of America’s Mentally Ill.  Scottdale, PA:  Herald Press, 1994.


See also Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Conscription of Conscience:  The American State and the Conscientious Objector, 1940-47. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952.


Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Camp periodicals database.


For more in depth treatment of mental health and training school units see Steven J. Taylor, Acts of Conscience: World War II, Mental Institutions, and Religious Objectors. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2009.


Umpqua Valley Art Association “Old Soldiers Home – A Historic Tale” http://uvarts.com/uvaa-history/ accessed 04/03/2012.