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National WWI Museum and Memorial Launches Online Exhibition of the first mosque on German soil.


KANSAS CITY, MO. – In 1915, Germany built a mosque in a prisoner-of-war camp – the first functioning mosque ever built on German soil. Along with propaganda-like visits from foreign dignitaries and extra leisure activities directed by the German Intelligence Office for the East, the mosque was part of a German campaign to convince Muslim POWs to change sides and join the Ottoman-German Alliance against the British and French. The camp population was made up of soldiers of diverse militaries, nationalities, ethnicities, and languages who all had one thing in common: their religion.

Fighting with Faith: a WWI POW Camp of Propaganda 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. Fighting with Faith complements the onsite exhibition Captured, which is open through April 30, 2023 in the Museum and Memorial’s Wylie Gallery. 

“One of the most important things that we do as a Museum is to share the rarely-told stories of those in the margins during WWI,” National WWI Museum and Memorial President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor said. “Fighting with Faith is a story that will likely surprise people who didn’t know of its existence. This digital exhibition not only helps us shed light on the stories of those who history may have left in the dark, it is a unique opportunity to explore the effects of misinformation campaigns from the lens of a hundred years in the future. We’re thrilled to continue to expand the meaningful work of the National WWI Museum and Memorial to a global audience of online visitors.”  

Online visitors will have the opportunity to see pictures from the camp, listen to authentic audio of instruments being played there and explore the architecture of the space with interactive photos. The exhibition also shows the propaganda used by The German Intelligence Office of the East, including newspapers, educational lectures and visits from Turkish, Tartar and Arab officials to boost morale.

Following the end of World War I, the German government closed the camp and returned most remaining prisoners to their home countries. A decade later the building fell into disrepair and German the military built barracks and garages for tanks around the former camp. More recently, in the late 2010s, Germany housed refugees from Syria, Iraq and Iran in the same place where the POW camp stood one hundred years prior. Many of the refugees were fleeing from ISIL-controlled areas in their home countries.

Each year, more than 2.6 million learners from around the world visit the Museum and Memorial’s website from over 200 countries. Online exhibitions like Fighting with Faith, as well as the Museum and Memorial’s robust Online Collections Database, enable a global audience to interact with the Museum and Memorial from anywhere in the world. 

This digital exhibition is sponsored by Lilly Endowment Inc. and made possible in part by the generosity of Museum and Memorial donors. Three items in the exhibition were provided by partner institutions: the State Museum of Berlin, Humbolt University, Berlin and the Leo Baeck Institute – New York.

About the National WWI Museum and Memorial 

The National WWI Museum and Memorial is America’s leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. The Museum and Memorial holds the most comprehensive collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and experiences of the war. The Museum and Memorial takes visitors of all ages on an epic journey through a transformative period and shares deeply personal stories of courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice. Designated by Congress as America’s official World War I Museum and Memorial and located in downtown Kansas City, Mo., the National WWI Museum and Memorial inspires thought, dialogue and learning to make the experiences of the Great War era meaningful and relevant for present and future generations. To learn more, visit 

Top Right 

Photograph of a Saphi prisoner of war at Halbmondlager (Half Moon Camp).

Print, Photograph from periodical “Der Grosse Krieg in Bildern,” No. 4. 1915. Germany. 2007.68.4. National WWI Museum and Memorial. 

Top Left
Illustration of the mosque at Halbmondlager (Half Moon Camp).

Illustration from Die Kriegsgefangenen in Deutschland, Siegen, 1915. Germany. 

Secound from top 

Halbmondlager camp photograph, with mosque at right and prisoners drilled in military exercises in front. From the book, "In the Prison Camps of Germany" by Conrad Hoffman, 1920.

Print, Photograph from book. 1920. Open Library.

Third from top 
Photograph of North African French colonial prisoners of war at Halbmondlager (Half Moon Camp). 
Print, Photograph from periodical “Der Grosse Krieg in Bildern,” No. 4. 1915. Germany. 2007.68.4. National WWI Museum and Memorial. 
Print depicting German soldiers speaking to a French colonial soldier from Africa. Soldier's words, translated from French, read: "I don't care about [a] sultan… I don't know him… I'm French, sir…." 
Print by Jean-Pierre Laurens. French. 1918. 2019.38.1.5. National WWI Museum and Memorial.