The Mosque ›

Architecture as Propaganda


The mosque was a collage of Islamic architecture from around the world. The regional styles of the architecture appealed to prisoners' memories of their home countries. In this way, the mosque itself was a physical representation of pan-Islamism with the intention of shaping prisoner perceptions of the German-Ottoman alliance.



Vintage-looking map of Europe, West Asia and Africa with inserted text. Text: Origin of POWs at Halbmondlager. Text over Africa: 3200 POWs. Text over West Asia: 800 POWs.
Original map: From Plat book of Washington and Ozaukee counties, Wisconsin: Compiled from county records and actual surveys. Northwest Publishing Co. Des Moines, IA: 1915. Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.
epia photograph of the interior of a mosque with repeated round arches. Three men are standing in discussion with each other while four other men are kneeling on mats on the ground.
Interior photograph of mosque.

Print, Photograph from periodical "Der Grosse Krieg in Bildern," No. 10. 1915. Germany. 2007.68.10. National WWI Museum and Memorial.

“…the mosque should not be a construct of fantasy, that agrees with European taste, but may offend the religious sensibilities of the indigenous.”

—Remark of Rittmeister Zürn after a visit to the Halbmondlager, Feb. 20, 1914


"For the design [of the mosque] an architectural expression has to be found, to satisfy – as far as possible – the senses and imagination of the Muhammadan believers."

—August Schultz



Click on the information hotspots to learn more about the Halbmondlager mosque's architectural influences.

Images used here are licensed under Creative Commons 4.0.

Exterior photograph of the mosque at the Half Moon Camp (Halbmondlager), Wünsdorf-Zossen.

Print, Photograph from periodical "Der Grosse Krieg in Bildern," No. 10. 1915. Germany. 2007.68.10. National WWI Museum and Memorial.

The global architecture of the Half Moon Camp mosque was a physical, architectural example of Germany’s propaganda. The mosque’s design details were direct statements intended to inspire allegiance in prisoners of war.

Next section › Personal, National and Global Consequences


World War I was a global conflict. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand started a chain reaction of alliances across the globe. Networks of nations banded together, against others.

WWI and Jihad

For Germany, jihad was a useful concept to weaken rival empires. The German alliance with the Ottoman Empire gave them access to a large population of potential Muslim soldiers.

The Mosque

From the beginning of the Half Moon Camp, there were plans to build a mosque. The mosque was the first functioning mosque in Germany.


Following the end of World War I, the German government closed the Half Moon Camp. They returned most remaining prisoners to their home countries.


Glossary of terms for Fighting With Faith. Refer here if you come across a word you're unfamiliar with!