The Indiana Historical Society Recreates Italian POW 1943 Experience and Chapel with Support of the Italian Heritage Society of Indiana

Mar 02, 2017 1219

On March 4, 2017 an 18-month long exhibit will open at the Indiana Historical Society entitled: “You are There 1943: Italian POWs at Atterbury”. Approximately 3,000 Italian prisoners of war were detained at an internment camp during World War II at Camp Atterbury in southern Indiana. As most of the prisoners were Roman Catholic, they received permission to build a chapel. Made from materials they could find in the camp, “The Chapel in the Meadow” served as their place of worship with a strong connection to their homeland.

The Chapel was restored in the late 1980s and a memorial Mass and celebration has been held annually at Camp Atterbury by the Italian Heritage Society of Indiana ever since. A collaboration between the Indiana Historical Society and The Italian Heritage Society of Indiana has resulted in recreating this powerful and moving POW experience, within the Chapel.

The on-going and award-winning “You are There” exhibits at the Indiana Historical Society create a literal “step through the veil of time” experience for the visitor and the POW Exhibit will be no exception. Actors will embody the characters including several Italian prisoners, American guards, the commanding officer of the era and the Chaplain who supervised the construction. A fresco art system will be used so visitors can view the religious and iconic paintings at various stages of completion. An interactive experience is planned where guests may speak with the prisoners and personnel as well as participate and learn about the artistic process.

This exhibit will tell the story of these prisoners from their point of view, including their struggles, keeping their faith during their imprisonment and daily life, a rare opportunity to learn about history from a non-American perspective.

About The Indiana Historical Society, The Italian Heritage Society of Indiana and Camp Atterbury
The Indiana Historical Society, based in Indianapolis and in existence since 1830, is a non-profit membership organization and the nation’s premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana.
The Italian Heritage Society of Indiana is a nonprofit membership organization based in Indianapolis, and promotes the culture and heritage of Italy and Italian-Americans.
Camp Atterbury is an active National Guard base in southern Indiana.


SOURCE: Italian Heritage Society of Indiana

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