Mazeppa Historical Society, DNR hosting WWII 'POW Camps in SE Minnesota' seminar

The event will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Mazeppa Community Center.

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A flyer for the 'POW Camps in SE Minnesota' seminar at the Mazeppa Community Center on Thursday, April 28, 2022.
Contributed / Jeremy Darst
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MAZEPPA — While many people know Whitewater State Park for its hiking trails and beautiful bluffs, the park was once home to German prisoners during the height of World War II.

The park was one of many sites connected to the full-scale prisoners of war camp in Algona, Iowa. Prisoners were transported to Whitewater to work on area farms and in canneries during the summers of 1944 and 1945.

To learn more about the POW camp and others that were in Southeast Minnesota during World War II, the Mazeppa Historical Society and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are hosting a seminar on Thursday, April 28, 2022, at the Mazeppa Community Center at 6 p.m.

The seminar will be led by Jeremy Darst of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and a naturalist with Whitewater State Park.

The idea for the free event came to Helen Reiland, president of the Mazeppa Historical Society, and her husband Mike while they were at Whitewater State Park last fall.


"We were talking to a gal down there and she mentioned that people that worked (at Whitewater State Park) will go out and give talks. ... She contacted (Darst) who works there and he suggested doing the prisoners of war camps in southeastern Minnesota," Helen said. "We set that date up a couple of months ago, and I think we're going to have a pretty good crowd.

"People are interested, especially with this topic."

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