Camp Clarinda #1408 was one of two U. S. camps to house POWs from both Germany and Japan
Sites for POW camps had to be close to
but far from
areas or ports.
And so many
men and women
in the war effort
that there was a need for a labor force
Clarinda, Iowa fit the bill.
seven "Side Camps" were opened when workers were needed:
Independence, MO (500 prisoners harvested potatoes)
Orrick, MO (350 prisoners harvested potatoes)
Shenandoah, IA (nursery work)
Hannibal, MO (field work and nursery work)
Nebraska City, NE (fought high flood waters)
Hamburg, IA (helped with flood damage)
Clinton, IA (worked at a flour mill)
The popcorn machine (above at left)
was in use during World War II at Camp Clarinda,
one of two Prisoner of War base camps in Iowa.
The original bunkbeds, storage lockers, camp mailbox and military office equipment are on display. You can check out prisoner's written memories, color sketches of the various buildings, military records of work details, photos of camp life, a plat map of buildings in the Camp, wooden shoes carved by a Japanese prisoner for a local child and much, much more.
These original Camp Clarinda bunkbeds, potbellied stove and foot lockers give you a glimpse into "home away from home" for the Prisoners of War. At right is a German military uniform. Many stools, made by the German prisoners and sold to local citizens, are still found in the Museum and the Clarinda area. Our display of 8 paintings by German prisoner, Franz Krivanek (1943-1945) also notes that after WWII he returned to the United States to live.
The POW camp was authorized August 23, 1943 at a cost of $1,000,000.
Seven hundred men began building the camp on September 27, 1943. German prisoners began arriving in January, 1944. In February, 1945 when 250 Japanese prisoners arrived, most of the German prisoners were sent to other camps. Eventually a total of 1,000 Japanese prisoners were imprisoned. In October, 1945 the Japanese were taken to California by train and the remaining 200 Germans were sent to the East Coast. None were allowed to remain in the United States. However, since the rules of the Geneva Convention were strictly followed by Camp Commanders, many prisoners wrote positive letters home and retained good memories about this area and the United States. Some returned with their families to visit or to live.