Camp Salina, Private Clarence Vincent Bertucci, Salina, Utah

The German P.O.W. Camp in Salina, Utah Were The “Midnight Massacre” Occurred

Camp Salina, U.S. Army designation Camp F-32 CO-479, was a facility established in Utah for German prisoners of war during World War II.

The original guard tower and other structures remain in tack due to their more resilient architecture, unlike the Japanese American facilities in Topaz, Utah that were of a lessor build.

On the midnight of July 8, 1945, which was two months after Nazi Germany’s formal surrender, the worst P.O.W. Camp massacre during WWII occurred when Private Clarence Vincent Bertucci climbed to the guard tower and fired hundreds of .30 caliber rounds from a M1917 Browning Machine Gun into the tents that 250 Germans were sleeping in in Salina. Nine German P.O.W.s were killed from the machine gun fire while nineteen others were injured from the “Midnight Massacre”.

After the incident, Private Clarence Vincent Bertucci was one of three soldiers to be convicted of killing P.O.W.s during wartime and spent time at a mental institution in New York. The former Private was buried in New Orleans in 1969.

In present day the camp serves as a military history musuem, with vehicles from World War II and information on aspects of day to day life; such as how the U.S. Army encouraged local farmers to not speak with German prisoners of war.

Author’s Note:

The Utah publication Deseret News has more information on the “Midnight Massacre”.

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