If you are interested in the Atlanta, Nebraska POW camp, visit the Prairie Museum in nearby Holdrege for more information. They have just finished building a replica of a guard tower that was at the camp, and they have more displays inside. 3000 German soldiers who were captured in North Africa and Italy were kept here. Many, however, volunteered to help local farmers grow and harvest their crops, and friendships were often formed.
All of the buildings that once stood at the Atlanta POW camp are gone from the camp site now. But one, at least, still survives. The photo shows the building, now located in the town of Arapahoe, Nebraska. This would be about 25 miles southwest of Atlanta on highway 6/34. The town of Arapahoe has used it for a variety of purposes over the years.
Talk about looking out of place. At the edge of a cornfield stands a very tall brick chimney, unconnected to any building. This chimney is the last remnant of a Prisoner of War camp that once occupied this field. Here, in the middle of the country (to discourage escapes or rescue attempts), German soldiers were kept. Believe it or not, many of them were allowed to leave the camp, with a guard, and help local farmers harvest their crops. After all, most of the young Americans were away in the service. There were many friendships formed between local farm families and these POW's.
Atlanta is a small village located along highway 6/34, about 7 miles southwest of Holdrege in south central Nebraska. The site of the camp is on the north side of the highway, a couple of miles northeast of the village of Atlanta. At a museum on the north edge of Holdrege is a recently constructed replica of a guard tower from the Atlanta camp.