A CREW OF 50 GERMAN WORLD WAR II–ERA POWs may be gone, but they’ll never be forgotten in Roswell. They crafted an emblem of their nation—an iron cross—in the riprap (stonework used to reinforce a waterway’s banks) along the mostly dry Spring River. The crew was on a work detail from the Roswell POW Internment Camp. From 1942 to 1946, it housed 4,800 prisoners in Orchard Park, south of town. The incarcerated men, from Rommel’s Afrika Korps, often worked as field hands. One shared his opinion of the duties by wishing “all the cotton fields in the area to the devil,” wrote the late Roswell author Ernestine Chesser Williams in Treasures of History II. Others worked on the Spring River Parkway, where their 1943 handiwork escaped supervisors’ notice. Infuriated locals discovered the offending symbol and poured concrete over it. Erosion in the 1980s revealed the mark, and it landed differently in local opinion, eventually earning a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. A section of the Berlin Wall—a gift from the German Air Force to the city of Roswell—is displayed nearby.

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