Behind Barbed Wire is housed in a converted school bus which illustrates this history through narrative texts, multimedia and artifacts. The bus, known as the BUS-eum, will be parked outside Ellendale Public School between 9 a.m. to noon for visits by students.
In the afternoon the BUS-eum will be parked at the west end of Main Street in front of the Opera House. It will be open for visits between the hours of 1 to 3 p.m. Also during this time a 15- to 20-minute video will be shown in the Opera House Lobby and Gallery. Refreshments will be offered at no charge.
The first U.S. troops sent to Europe came from the Iowa-based 34th Red Bull Division. This division consisted of men from Iowa, the Dakotas and Minnesota. They served for more than 600 days, which was the longest uninterrupted duty of any U.S. unit in the history of the U.S. Army.
About 2,000 soldiers from the 34th Division were captured in North Africa in February 1943. They were captured by German Afrikakorps troops, led by Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. Thousands of other Midwest men spent time as POWs, too, but in smaller numbers. Later, pilots shot down during air raids over Germany formed a second wave of Midwest POWs imprisoned in Nazi Germany. Until the Battle of Bulge took place in December 1944, just west of Germany in Belgium and Luxembourg, a disproportionate share of U.S. POWs in the Third Reich came, per capita, from the Upper Midwest.
This exhibit and presentation explores the experiences of Midwestern prisoners of war captured in Hitler's Third Reich, and the human context in which their experiences took place.
Behind Barbed Wire was created by TRACES, a St. Paul, Minn.-based nonprofit educational organization. It has been seen in more than 20 different states and by thousands of individuals.
The visit to Ellendale is sponsored by the Ellendale Historical Society and the Herman-Schlinker American Legion Post No. 137.
For more information, please contact Jeanette Ruenz at 701-349-4329.