POW Iron Cross – Roswell, New Mexico - Atlas Obscura
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Roswell, New Mexico

POW Iron Cross

The symbol was surreptitiously built into the river bank by German prisoners of war. 

Roswell, New Mexico, may be forever linked with its strange UFO sightings, but there are other, lesser known oddities to be found in the town. For instance, the nearly forgotten Iron Cross symbol created by German prisoners of war along the river bank.

During World War II, about 4,800 German prisoners were held in a POW camp just outside Roswell. While the majority of prisoners labored on farms, a group of men worked in the city on a flood control project in town, paving the banks of the Spring River with stone.

As construction progressed along the north river bank, a group of prisoners arranged rocks of different sizes to form the outline of the Iron Cross, a military decoration of the German Empire that was reintroduced by the Nazi Army with a swastika added to the center.

Upon discovering the symbol, many Roswell citizens were incensed by the brazen act and subsequently covered the offending image with cement. However, after many years of erosion, the cross reemerged and can be seen once again.

The site has been turned into a memorial to prisoners of war and MIA soldiers everywhere. Known for a time as Iron Cross Park, it was renamed POW/MIA Park in the 1990s. It currently has a viewing platform for the now fully exposed stone cross.