The Camp Algona POW Museum recently added its third exhibit since opening in July of 2004. The new exhibit gives honor to the men and women of the Algona area who served in World War II. Although their service did not directly relate to the prison camp that was in Algona or the branch camp in Storm Lake during World War II, it is a compelling companion story.
While 10,000 German prisoners were detained at Camp Algona and its branch camps, thousands of area residents were serving their country in the European and Pacific Theaters. The German prisoners of war filled the acute labor shortage caused by the local residents' service.
The new 35-foot linear display contains several hundred photographs of service personnel in the Pacific and European Theaters. A 20-foot timeline features photos and news headlines reflecting events happening in the world as well as locally during the war. In addition, countless artifacts of local service personnel are displayed.
One outstanding display features drawings of Lt. Dwaine Lighter. Lt. Lighter, Co-Pilot on a B-24, was shot down over Germany and spent over 2 years in German prison camps, mainly in Stalag Luft III. Lighter's sketchbook shows the rigors of prison life as well as his spirit. Thirty-two scale model planes of the WWII era can be seen in the display.
The original exhibits opened in July and November of 2004. 'German Prisoners of War in America: The Camp Algona Experience' and 'Cultural Expressions Behind Barbed Wire', have drawn favorable comments from the 3,500 visitors attending the museum since its opening. Visitors are also treated to a display of rare German and Japanese weapons as well as a 1940 Ford Fodor staff car.
Hours are 1 - 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or call 515-295-3719 to arrange a tour.