Presentation on WWII POW camps in Oklahoma is Sept. 26 at Northwestern

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Presentation on WWII POW camps in Oklahoma is Sept. 26 at Northwestern

Dr. William Corbett, who has written extensively on World War II Prisoner of War camps in Oklahoma, will present a talk on this subject at 7 p.m. on Sept. 26 in the J.W. Martin Library on the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alva campus. Corbett is this year’s Cultural Heritage Series speaker presented by the social sciences department.

The program is free and open to Northwestern students and employees, as well as community members.

Alva was home to one of the more notorious WWII POW camps as it was used as a maximum security camp, housing about 5,000 Nazi Party members who reportedly caused the most problems and proved the greatest risk of all the prisoners. Alva’s camp is listed as the only maximum security camp in the entire program across the United States. Many of the prisoners in the Alva camp and others worked in construction, farming and even manned the Santa Fe Railroad's ice plant at Waynoka.

A local community group and social science department members have been working to preserve the Alva POW Camp and its history in the community. It was located in the area where the red and white checked water tower is located near the Woods County Fairgrounds south of town.

Corbett is a professor of history and chair of social sciences at Northeastern State University. He earned a master’s in history from the University of South Dakota and a doctorate in history from Oklahoma State University.

Corbett serves on the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Historical Society and has received the Muriel H. Wright Award for Excellence in the Preservation and Publication of Oklahoma History and a Public Humanities Award from the Oklahoma Humanities Council for outstanding programming in the Humanities.

He has authored a number of books and articles throughout his career.

“His presentation is expected to be quite informative and animated,” Dr. Kay Decker, chair of the social sciences department, said.

For more information, please contact Decker at (580) 327-8521 or email