Archived Story

Algona, Iowa, nativity scene opens Sunday

Published 8:17am Friday, December 5, 2008

The Algona, Iowa, nativity scene will open for the 2008 Christmas season on Sunday. This scene was created by prisoners of war located at Camp Algona during World War II. The designer and originator was Eduard Kaib, an architect by profession and a non-commissioned officer of the German Army. Kaib and five of his fellow prisoners built the scene and paid for all the materials themselves, using money earned in Iowa farm fields. The scene is half life size composed of 60 figures built of concrete on a wire frame and finished in a molding plaster. There is no admission fee.

The scene will be open daily from Dec. 7 through Dec. 31. The hours are as follows. Sundays and Christmas Day: noon to 9 p.m.; weekdays and Saturdays: 2 to 9 p.m. and from noon to 6 p.m. on Dec. 31. The specially designed building housing the nativity scene is located at the Kossuth County Fairgrounds, just off Highway 169 at Fair Street on the south edge of Algona.

Kaib and his fellow prisoners left his visual interpretation of the Christmas story behind. In recent years has been viewed by people from all 50 states and many foreign countries. The Men’s Club of Algona First United Methodist Church has maintained the property and manned the building during viewing hours since 1958. This year marks the 64th Christmas season the scene has been displayed. Also available for viewing are many displays showing the POW camp at Algona and the life of the German prisoners while interned in Algona during World War II.

Any civic, church or school group may make arrangements in advance for a special viewing of the scene by contacting First United Methodist Church at (515) 295-7241.

When you are visiting Algona and the Nativity Scene, you may want to consider a visit to the POW Camp Museum established July 2004. For information about this World War II era collection, visit the Web site: Extended Museum hours for December are: 3 to 6 p.m. Dec. 17, 18, 19, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 20 and 21. Museum fee is $2 for students and $3 for adults.