#HerefordSC: Deaf Smith County's WWII ties

HEREFORD, TX (KFDA) - The Texas Panhandle was booming during World War II, as many soldiers overseas received weaponry like ammunition and bombs from workers right here in our area.

But Hereford had a different purpose.

During the war Hereford became home to more than three thousand Italian Prisoners of War.

Historians say it was the perfect place for the P.O.W. camps because of its reliable routes of transportation for supplies. Railroad tracks ran through the town - and do to this day -- and the extension of U.S. 60 throughout the late 1920's and early '30s established Hereford as a connector to the eastern and western U.S.

Despite their imprisonment, historians claim foreign detainees were treated decently - especially when compared to American soldiers who were captured in enemy territory.

"It is one of the mysteries about it that you really have to work on," said historian Joe D. Rogers. "No one died on the wire out here. There were some death but those are all natural causes, or there was a murder out here. There were no gas chambers or machine guns or people killing people coming over the wires. In fact, the people here had a very good life."

Today, there is still a marker open for visitors just outside of Hereford.

The land's owner gave a small piece to Deaf Smith County for historical preservation.

The small church and grave marker stand as a reminder of the men who lived there during one of the world's darkest documented times.

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