The annual ceremony is held in remembrance of the POWs who lived and worked
at Fort Riley between 1943 and 1946, specifically the 62 Germans and 11
Italians now buried here.
German Army Col. Carsten Döding and Italian Army Lt. Col. Antonio Laudando
will be guest speakers at the event. Both officers are currently stationed
at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
In 1943, War Department officials established Fort Riley as one of 600
locations across the United States selected to house German, Italian and
Japanese POWs. The camps became home for 350,000 prisoners—enough to man 35
German army divisions; approximately 4,500 were held at Fort Riley.
The POWs filled a labor void on area farms, working on roads, laundry and
building maintenance projects. Prisoners earned about 80 cents a day. After
the war, some of the POWs chose to stay in the local area to live and work.
The German and Italian Memorial Ceremony is open to the public. Those
attending who don’t have a Department of Defense ID card must stop by the
Henry Gate visitor’s center (I-70, exit 301) to get a one-day pass. Learn
more by clicking on the yellow “Accessing Fort Riley” button on the
right-hand side of the page at www.riley.army.mil or by calling