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“During WW2, Algona, Iowa was the site of a base camp for prisoners of war. This camp was ‘home’ to a total of 10,000 German prisoners from April 1944 to February 1946. The value of the work done by the prisoners in the four state region was estimated at $3,506,000. A total of thirty four branch camps were supervised from Algona. The average monthly camp system population was 3,216, although the number kept in the Algona camp rarely exceeded 2,500. Although many visitors remark they had no idea such a camp existed, it had a huge economic impact on the community of Algona and the surrounding area.

In January of 2001, the Camp Algona POW Project committee was organized with the purpose of collecting existing information and artifacts from American and German personnel who were at the camp. Since that beginning, we have located many former PWs, or their families. We have collected countless photographs of PWs, camp buildings, American personnel and work sites of the PWs. We have scanned letters, diaries, paintings, journals, drawings, records and other keepsake items from both American and German personnel. Scanning the images helps to create a permanent digital record. Our committee has conducted many interviews with both Americans and Germans, by mail, phone or in person. By 2004, we achieved our goal of creating a museum, opening our facility in July of that year.”

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