Atlanta, Nebraska

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Atlanta is a village in Phelps County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 130 at the 2000 census. During World War II the town was neighbored by Camp Atlanta, which housed more than 3,000 Nazi German prisoners of war over three years. The camp was said to house more prisoners during the war than the town had in its entire existence.[3]

Contents

History

In the first part of the 20th century Atlanta was home to several amenities for neighboring farmers. They included a grocery store, post office, cafe, and a tourist shop for drivers on U.S. Route 6, as well as grain and corn elevators and two gas stations. Chataqua groups entertained at the town hall, with annual events such as the Atlanta Institute, which was an annual fair. There were also free outdoor "picture shows", and the Atlanta Industry Day Picnic. The Atlanta schoolhouse had eight grades. At the beginning of WWII, there was one street about two blocks long, with only a few business buildings drooping and dwindling along its edges.[4][5]

Camp Atlanta

During World War II, Camp Atlanta was established next to the town as an Allied Prisoner of War camp for German P.O.W.s. The Atlanta area had been the final choice of the U.S. Army to establish a $2,000,000 P.O.W. camp after the outbreak of World War II. When construction began in September, 1943 people were told this would be a "Conchie Camp" for the conscientious objectors from the United States. By November it became known by locals that Atlanta would be a Prisoner of War camp expected to guard German prisoners. There were approximately 275 enlisted men and 60 officers.

Soldiers were hired out to local farms to help retrieve the increased crop production demanded by the war. More than 30 local farmers sought assistance, paying the government for work completed by the P.O.W.s.[6] Soon after the first of the year in 1946, some soldiers returned to live in Atlanta, and at least two of the Germans applied for U.S. citizenship and returned, as well.[3]

Geography

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