Camp Tonkawa Prisoner of War Camp

Between October and December 1942 more than 900 construction workers labored twenty-four hours a day to build Camp Tonkawa on the quarter section immediately north of this marker (SE1/2 Sec. 28-26N-1W). The 160-acre site contained more than 180 wooden structures for 3,000 German P.O.W.s, as well as 500 U.S. Army guard troops, service personnel and civilian employees. Activated in January 1943, the post received its first P.O.W.s in August, German troops of the Afrika Corps captured in North Africa. The facility operated at or near capacity throughout its existence. Prisoners worked on area farms and ranches as well as at an alfalfa dryer plant in Tonkawa. In November 1943, a disturbance among the prisoners resulted in the death of one German soldier. Eight P.O.W.s escaped from the camp but all were recaptured. Camp Tonkawa closed in September 1945, and the P.O.W.s were returned to Europe. **

Original entrance into the camp, which is north of Tonkawa, Oklahoma between Public and Main Streets. **

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Exploring Oklahoma History

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