During World War II, Arizona was the destination for many German and Italian prisoners of war. The two main camps were at Florence and Papago Park, but many sub-stations were scattered in other places around the state. The camps had a similar design to military camps, with barracks and a central dining room, or mess hall. The Florence camp was built specifically as a POW camp for up to 6,000 prisoners, and was dismantled entirely soon after the war ended. The Papago Park camp, which had been built during World War I and housed nearly 1,500 men, remained in use for other purposes for several decades more. Today, next to nothing remains of the sites where so many prisoners were held.
Read About It
Use the document analysis sheet and the photograph analysis sheet to uncover clues about the people that created the documents.
- Letter from Harold H. Williams to Robert O. Kelly
- Copy of a letter from Frank Banicevich to Harold H. Williams, March 2, 1948
- Copy of a letter from Robert O. Kelly to Harold H. Williams, July 28, 1948
- Letter from Lon E. Walters, Jr. to Robert O. Kelly, July 23, 1948
- Waiver for Harold H. Williams, April 26, 1948
- Photograph of a German prisoner of war identified as -?- Pieper, assigned as a kitchen chief at the Buckeye Branch Camp, Buckeye (Ariz.), a branch of the Papago Park Prisoner of War Camp.
- Copy of bill of sale for building T-284 at the Florence Prisoner of War camp, May 26, 1948
- Photograph of a model of the Papago Park Prisoner of War Camp
- Photograph/color image of the site of the Papago Park Prisoner of War Camp in Phoenix (Ariz.)
- Where were the POW camps in AZ?
- How were the POW camps for German and Italian soldiers similar to the internment camps for Japanese Americans? How were they different?
- What do the documents and images above tell us about the POW camps in Arizona? What information is not included in these documents and images?
- What do you think life in an AZ POW camp would have been like?
Visit the websites below to learn more. Based on this new information, have your answers to the questions above changed?