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Text in dark blue and gold: Fighting with Faith: a WWI POW Camp of Propaganda
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Black and white photograph of groups of men in prison uniform marching in lines across an open space. A mosque is in the background. Text: Mohammedan Prisoners of War Being Drilled and Disciplined in Training for Entering the German Army. The mosque in the background was build as a gift from the German Emperor to the Mohammedans.

In 1915, Germany built a mosque in a prisoner-of-war camp. The camp population was made up of soldiers of diverse militaries, nationalities, ethnicities, and languages. They all had one thing in common: their religion.

This digital exhibition explores the alliance between Germany and the Ottoman Empire during World War I and why they built a campaign of propaganda targeting Muslims. It investigates the Halbmondlager, or "Half Moon Camp," with a close look at the ways in which Germany and the Ottoman Empire fought for the hearts and minds of prisoners -- including the construction of the first mosque on German soil.

Fighting with Faith reflects on how nations and people shape political and religious ideas, and the reverberating consequences of those actions.

Exhibition Navigation

Click on a section to explore the story of the Half Moon Camp.

 

Introduction

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.

Epilogue

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

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

Exhibition Image Gallery

Click on each image to go to the exhibition page it is on and learn more about it.

This digital exhibition is sponsored by Lilly Endowment Inc.

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Logo of Lilly Endowment Inc.

 

Fighting with Faith: a WWI POW Camp of Propaganda is made possible in part by the generosity of Museum and Memorial donors. Three items in the exhibition were provided by partner institutions: the State Museums of Berlin, Humboldt University, Berlin and the Leo Baeck Institute – New York.