Monday, June 15, 2015
Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Gazette

Donna Rogenkamp of Indianola, Nebraska, flanked by her 12-year-old daughter, Elaine, plays "The National Anthem" to open the tour Friday morning of the former World War II prisoner-of-war camp, a highlight of the 19th annual Buffalo Commons Storytelling and Music Festival. The prison camp, located by the U.S. government on 250 ares of "flat land" for optimal visibility, housed up to 3,000 German prisoners from 1943 until 1946. Prisoners reported finding surprising conditions at the prison camp -- good food, clean clothes, warm shelter, running water and hospitality from area farmers for whom they worked planting and harvesting. About 70 Buffalo Commons participants toured the camp, with Allison Young, an archeologist who has studied the camp (far right), and members of the Indianola Historical Society as their guides.

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