This rings true to Camp Algona. It was built in 1944 and by 1946 had been torn down and basically sold for parts. The researcher in me asks: Why? It is terribly sad when you read about another victorian house or historic drug store that had been around for a century being torn down, but why tear down things that represent our history? As the United States, are we embarrassed by that chapter of our history? It is understandable where we, as Americans, may be embarrassed and horrified by the way previous generations treated the Native Americans, those who participated in the Civil Rights Movement, or even the Japanese-Americans during World War II.
If the German people feel it is important to keep the history and the message of what happened at places like Auschwitz alive to prevent such a thing from potentially happening again, why not keep places like Camp Algona alive to represent not only it's small role in our Nation's history, but also to represent that even in times of war, humanity is not lost. That you can treat your enemy with respect, because in actuality, that is what occurred at Camp Algona from 1944-1946. Two sides who were told to hate each other, without really knowing the other, were brought together under unusual circumstances. My Grandma used to say hospitality and respect went a long way, and it really did. The German prisoners at Camp Algona were met with respect, those working on local farms formed friendships, some that would last the rest of their lives, and when the war ended the Americans and Germans went their separate ways. There was no animosity towards treatment of the German POWs, and many continued correspondence with Lt. Col Lobdell for many years after the war.
So what am I getting at? Why can we not do what the Europeans do and respect the historical places? It makes for a more memorable visit when you can see it opposed to reading a plaque that had been placed in memorial. Though, I will say (and perhaps I am biased), if Camp Algona cannot physically be here, the museum does an excellent job still telling it's story.
Time to hop off my historian soapbox!
For more information on the abandoned Parisian Apartment Click Here
For more information on the abandoned Polish landmarks Click Here