POW Camp Concordia guard tower.

WWII German POW Camp

Field review by the editors.

Concordia, Kansas

The Camp Concordia Preservation Society has a POW Camp Concordia Museum, chronicling the local incarceration of over 4,000 German prisoners during World War II. We were in Concordia a bit late for that, so we headed down the road to see what remained of the old camp.

Only a few structures survive, including a large concrete pillar that's the stalk of POW Camp Concordia's now-vanished wooden water tower. The most photogenic thing to see is a restored guard tower. It's more squat than towering -- barely tall enough to rake machine gun fire at the heads of POWs trying to escape through the wheat fields. But it is more eye-catching than what we've seen at other WWII prison and internment camps sites, which is mostly limited to diplomatically-worded plaques and monuments.

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 apparently 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.

The Preservation Society hosts an annual Victory Day Celebration in Concordia on the first Saturday in May. That's probably the best time to visit the camp, but any time is good if you want to experience a WWII POW vibe.

WWII German 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. The POW Camp Concordia Museum down the road is open by appointment.
Hours:
Camp: any time. Museum: by appt. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
785-243-4303
Admission:
Camp: free. Museum: $5.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Longest Sculpted Brick MuralLongest Sculpted Brick Mural, Concordia, KS - 3 mi.
Orphan Train MuseumOrphan Train Museum, Concordia, KS - 3 mi.
He Killed Lincoln's Killer, Then Lived In A HoleHe Killed Lincoln's Killer, Then Lived In A Hole, Concordia, KS - 10 mi.
In the region:
Round-the-World Flight Monument, Salina, KS - 56 mi.

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