PPHM has new exhibit highlighting lost history from the 1940’s

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:52 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) -‘Paradox in a Prisoner of War Camp’ will be on display this Saturday, January 15, at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum.

The exhibit is about a woman named Ann Cockrell Osburn who worked in a prisoner-of-war camp southeast of Hereford in the 1940′s.

According to the museum research director, Warren Stricker, the exhibit highlights a time in our Panhandle history that we might of not known about.

“Revisit that time period to learn something about the very unusual series of events that took place here, it’s always possible for people to find friendship among dark times,” says Stricker.

Ann Cockrell befriended several of the Italian soldiers through art and writing while at the POW camp.

Additionally, she worked in the camp hospital during WW2 working with doctors and military officials and getting to know the Italian POW through her job.

“During that time, she came to know a number of the prisoners well as co-workers and friends really,” says Stricker.

PPHM Research Archivist, Renea Dauntes believes her personality allowed her to form meaningful relationships.

“Because of her genuineness and friendliness with the POW’S that were here, they were able to form bonds that did last for quite a while,” says Dauntes.

Making the most of tough situations was something Ann Cockrell was talented with.

“People who are put in these unusual situations with no expectation that anything good will come of it will find that they will have common ground,” says Stricker.

The team of researchers believes that the community will be impacted by this exhibit.

“We hope that people will learn something from coming here, the POW camp is long gone there’s virtually no physical trace of it left, a lot of people who’ve lived here a long time might not know much about it, it’s a chance for them to revisit that time period and to learn something about a very unusual series of events that took place here,” says Stricker.

Dauntes says, “We have the opportunity to share our history which informs our future and it gives us the ability to tell stories that may not necessarily be well known.”

Tickets to visit the PPHM can be purchased here.

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