Fascinating History Of The POWs At Camp Rupert In World War II
In 1944, Camp Rupert got its first shipment of prisoners of war in World War II. The Idaho State Historical Society shared some of the most interesting histories about their time in Idaho and how it progressed throughout the war.
Camp Rupert In Minidoka
The camp started housing prisoners of war because the camps in Europe were too full. They decided to start shipping the people to Idaho. Camp Rupert had 172 buildings and was able to house 15 thousand people at its busiest. Because many of the prisoners of war were young and capable, the local farmers used it as an opportunity to get extra labor for free.
Camp Rupert Drama Begins
As the farmers continued to use the prisoners for laborious activities, more tension started to stir in the camp. Some of the prisoners didn't have to work in hard labor and then more and more people started seeing what concentration camps were like in Europe. Prisoners and the guards really started feeling the tension. At one point there was actually a strike by the prisoners. During that time there was a lot of violence between everyone. Rationing and fighting essentially led to the closure of the camp in 1945.
After 1945 Camp Rupert
After 1945 the rest of the prisoners were shipped off elsewhere. There were a few that lasted until the end of the harvest season with the farmers but otherwise, the camp was vacated. The last of them were hauled off by 1947. Today, you can check out the history of the camp and see what is still standing.
It is a terrible part of history but fascinating nonetheless. It is important that we remember what happened here and prevent something like this from happening again.