POW Camp Concordia guard tower.

Guard Tower From a Nazi POW Camp

Field review by the editors.

Concordia, Kansas

In Concordia, the Cloud County Historical Museum has an exhibit on the local incarceration of 5,000 German prisoners during World War II. We were in town a bit late for that, so we headed straight north to see what remained of the old camp.

Aside from a large concrete pillar in the distant cornfields -- the stalk of POW Camp Concordia's now-vanished wooden water tower -- there's only one thing to see. It's a restored guard tower. It's more squat than towering -- barely tall enough to rake machine gun fire at the heads of POWs escaping through the wheat fields. But it is preferable to the diplomatically-worded plaques and monuments where other WWII prison and internment camps once stood.

The German POWs worked the fields, paid to fill in during the wartime manpower shortage. Able-bodied Kansas men were off fighting in Pacific and Europe (and sending their captives here?).

The 160 acre POW Camp Concordia closed in 1945, after the war ended, and the temporary buildings and fences made way for more cornfields.

It wasn't a bad place, as prison camps went -- many of the prisoners got along well with the farmers, who gave them rides into town where they could spend the money they made working the harvest.

Guard Tower From a Nazi POW Camp

POW Camp Concordia

Address:
Union Rd, Concordia, KS
Directions:
POW Camp Concordia. Two miles north on town on US Hwy 81, then east 1.5 miles on Union Rd.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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October 21, 2014

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