Fort Riley holds German and Italian remembrance ceremony

Nov 18, 2022 125

BY: Joseph Robben

A wreath-laying ceremony for former German and Italian prisoners of war took place at the Fort Riley post cemetery, Thursday morning. The annual ceremony is held in remembrance of the POWs who lived and worked at Fort Riley between 1943 and 1946, specifically the 62 Germans and 11 Italians now buried here.

In 1943, War Department officials established Fort Riley as one of 600 locations across the United States selected to house German, Italian and Japanese POWs. The camps became home to 350,000 prisoners—enough to man 35 German army divisions; approximately 4,500 were held at Fort Riley. The POWs filled a labor void on area farms, working on roads, laundry, and building maintenance projects. 

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