July 24, 2021

Opelika was the location of 500 enemy prisoner of war camps in the United States. Construction on Camp Opelika began in September of 1942. In January of 1943, the U.S. Army staffed the camp with approximately 500 military police serving as guards. The first prisoners were apart of General Erwin
Rommel’s Africa corp. The camp population was maintained at 3,000 until the end of the war. In
September of 1945, the camp was deactivated and deeded to the city of Opelika. After a brief period when the quarters were used for veterans housing, the campsite became an industrial park.

Our museum is the only repository for artifacts relating to Camp Opelika, a World War II era POW camp.

Within our Camp Opelika exhibit, we feature distinctive arts and crafts made by German prisoners from the scrap materials made available to the.

The commemorative dishes were made from orange crates brought to the camp’s kitchen. Of
particular interest are the desk top cigarette lighter, found in a flea market in Germany, a small silver Maltese cross found at the location of a 1940’s era peanut farm, and a “Panzer Armee Afrika Kalender” for the year 1943.