Heinz POW Camp

heinz-pow-campIn 1943, the first Italian Prisoners of War arrived in Medina. 156 prisoners were sent to Orleans County of which 71 stayed at the H.J. Heinz dormitories. During their time in Medina, POW’s worked at the Heinz factory, local farms, and the Lyndonville Canning Company. After Italy surrendered, the Italian prisoners were sent home and German prisoners came to Medina. At one point German prisoners held a strike because they were not allowed to smoke in the Heniz factory or loading platforms. The Heinz POW camp was closed in 1946 and the remaining Germans sent home. During the intervening years up to 300 prisoners and 50 MP’s lived and worked in Medina.  During WWII, approximately 372,000 German POW’s were held in camps across the United States.

The library has many newspaper articles about the camp and the prisoners, including the escape of two prisoners. We also have books and photographs.

Above is a photo of the Heinz dormitory prisoners were housed in. One of the actual camp bunks can be seen at the Medina Historical Society Museum. The Museum has several upcoming events in the fall including Ale in Autumn when you can see it.

WNY Wednesday 1879

bentsWe have a beautiful copy of the 1879 Historical Album of Orleans County. It contains illustrations of the scenery, private residences, public buildings, and portraits of old pioneers and prominent residents. Here you can see an illustration of Bents Opera House.


The album contains information about the county as a whole including the War of 1812 and the organization of the militia. It also contains information specific to the Village of Medina and the Towns of Ridgeway and Shelby. The Village of Medina section includes information on water power, stone quarries, churches and cemeteries. You can read about the political history of Ridgeway, the lives of early pioneers and early transportation. Shelby includes information about physicians, schools, and a list of men who enlisted during the Civil War. This is just a small representation of all the history you can find in the Historical Album’s 320 pages.

If you are interested in looking through the Historical Album, please call and speak with the Director to arrange a date and time.

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