Third Reich Riverbed
For my historical item I have chosen a site I drive by almost every weekend when I visit my Grandmother in Roswell, New Mexico. The site is on the side of a riverbed in the middle of town lined with stonework. The stonework was executed by German prisoners of war. Placing the stone on the Spring River banks, for a flood-control project, was one of the many projects that the POW’s were put to work on. To this day you can walk along the Spring Riverbank and see an Iron Cross made with carefully placed stones. The Iron Cross was a very common military decoration for the Nazi German soldiers.
This site catches my interest because WWII was an incredibly horrific time in history. It was formed by extreme prejudice and how unkind humans can be to one another. For those reasons I believe my historical site highlights the “complexity” factor of historical thinking. These men clearly held very hateful ideals and continued to well into their imprisonment. Even the reality of incarceration couldn’t open the eyes of these men; they held close to their white supremacist ideas well after the war. The internment camp that housed these men was opened in November of 1942.
I believe this riverbed is historically significant because it is evidence of the prisoners that we held accountable for war crimes against other races. Again, it was not a pretty time in history, but it is a very significant one. Learning from the mistakes the world governments made by turning a blind eye will hopefully prevent another similar event.