A 40-foot bus has been converted into a mobile museum by TRACES, a non-profit educational organization that focuses on connections between the Midwest and Nazi Germany. The tour of all 99 Iowa counties beginning Friday in Marshalltown and TRACES Director Michael Luick-Thrams says the Bus-seum should be on the road for 55 days. It’s a mobile exhibit about Iowans as well as other Midwestern soldiers who were caught during World War 2 and held as POWs in prison camps in Nazi Germany.The name of the traveling exhibit is “Behind Barbed Wire.” In a couple hundred photographs that were scanned and printed on big panels, it tells how they were captured, interrogated and moved to the camps) The exhibit tells about life in the camps, how food was scarce and the prisoners had to work. Those who weren’t officers had to work, often with farmers or blacksmiths, or in factories. There are POW artifacts including clothing, journals, letters with postage-stamps picturing Hitler, drawings and paintings by the prisoners, and many items that haven’t been collected anywhere else. TRACES was founded in 2001 and is funded by federal and state grants, private donations, and merchandise sales. More information on the group and the tour is available at www.traces.org.
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