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  • Yrjö Justiinanpoika Laitinen (1890 - 1918)
    Suomen sotasurmat 1914-1922 tietokanta Osapuoli: Punainen Siviilisääty: naimaton Lähteet Suonenjoki syntyneet 1884-1898 (MKO687-695) : 1890; SSHY / Viitattu 10.04.2022 Suonenjoki lastenkirja 18...
  • Pvt. (CSA) Joseph Mangus (1843 - 1865)
    Mangess (sic), Joseph (Pvt.) Enlistment Place Enlisted at New River Muster Date 1 Apr 1864; Imprisonment Date 2 Mar 1865 Imprisonment Place Battle of Waynesboro, Virginia 7 Apr 1865 Muster Out P...
  • Pvt. (CSA) Simon Hicks (1836 - 1864)
    Name Simon F Hicks Enlistment Age 25 Birth Date abt 1836 Enlistment Date 27 May 1861 Enlistment Place Logan County, West Virginia Enlistment Rank Private Muster Date 27 May 1861 Muster Place Virginia M...
  • Pvt. (CSA) Floyd S. J. Dempsey (c.1840 - 1865)
    Name Floyd Dempsey Enlistment Date 1 Jan 1864 Enlistment Place Narrows, Virginia Enlistment Rank Private Muster Date 1 Jan 1864 Muster Place Virginia Muster Company D Muster Regiment 36th Infantry Must...
  • Jaakko Edvard Kaartinen (1901 - 1942)
    Sotkamo syntyneet 1901-1908 (MKO38-43) Sivu 240 1901 tammikuu - helmikuu ; SSHY / Viitattu 05.03.2024 Sotkamo lastenkirja 1891-1900 (MKO42-64 Ab4) Sivu 744 Ylisotkamo 1 Sopala ; SSHY / Viitattu 05.03....

Please add the profiles of people who died as a Prisoner of War. If a known cause of death, please add the person to a project for that condition also (ie, of disease or of wounds).


A prisoner of war (POW, PoW, PW, P/W, WP, PsW, enemy prisoner of war (EPW) or "missing-captured") is a person, whether combatant or non-combatant, who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates to 1660.

Belligerents hold prisoners of war in custody for a range of legitimate and illegitimate reasons, such as isolating them from enemy combatants still in the field (releasing and repatriating them in an orderly manner after hostilities), demonstrating military victory, punishing them, prosecuting them for war crimes, exploiting them for their labour, recruiting or even conscripting them as their own combatants, collecting military and political intelligence from them, or indoctrinating them in new political or religious beliefs

A prisoner-of-war camp is a site for the containment of enemy combatants captured by a belligerent power in time of war. It should be noted that there are significant differences among POW camps, internment camps, and military prisons. Purpose built prisoner-of-war camps appeared at Norman Cross in England in 1797 and HM Prison Dartmoor, both constructed during the Napoleonic Wars, and they have been in use in all the main conflicts of the last 200 years. The main camps are used for coast guards, marines, sailors, soldiers, and more recently, airmen of an enemy power who have been captured by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. In addition, non-combatants, such as merchant mariners and civilian aircrews, have been imprisoned in some conflicts. With the adoption of the Geneva Convention on the Prisoners of War in 1929, later superseded by the Third Geneva Convention, prisoner-of-war camps have been required to be open to inspection by authorized representatives of a neutral power. Not all belligerents have consistently applied the convention in all conflicts.

The earliest known purpose-built prisoner-of-war camp was established by the Kingdom of Great Britain at Norman Cross, in 1797 to house the increasing number of prisoners from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.

The extensive period of conflict during the American Revolutionary War and Napoleonic Wars (1793–1815), followed by the Anglo-American War of 1812, led to the emergence of a cartel system for the exchange of prisoners, even while the belligerents were at war. A cartel was usually arranged by the respective armed service for the exchange of like-ranked personnel. The aim was to achieve a reduction in the number of prisoners held, while at the same time alleviating shortages of skilled personnel in the home country.


  • American Civil War American Civil War prison camps
    • At the start of the civil war a system of paroles operated. Captives agreed not to fight until they were officially exchanged. Meanwhile, they were held in camps run by their own army where they were paid but not allowed to perform any military duties.
    • The system of exchanges collapsed in 1863 when the Confederacy refused to exchange black prisoners.
    • In the late summer of 1864, a year after the Dix-Hill Cartel was suspended; Confederate officials approached Union General Benjamin Butler, Union Commissioner of Exchange, about resuming the cartel and including the black prisoners. Butler contacted Grant for guidance on the issue, and Grant responded to Butler on August 18, 1864 with his now famous statement. He rejected the offer, stating in essence, that the Union could afford to leave their men in captivity, the Confederacy could not.
    • After that about 56,000 of the 409,000 POWs died in prisons during the American Civil War, accounting for nearly 10% of the conflict's fatalities.
    • Neither Union or Confederate prison camps were always well run, and it was common for prisoners to die of starvation or disease. It is estimated that about 56,000 soldiers died in prisons during the war; almost 10% of all Civil War fatalities.
    • During a period of 14 months in Camp Sumter, located near Andersonville, Georgia, 13,000 (28%) of the 45,000 Union soldiers confined there died.
    • At Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois, 10% of its Confederate prisoners died during one cold winter month; and Elmira Prison in New York state, with a death rate of 25% (2,963), very nearly equalled that of Andersonville.
  • Boer War camps
    • During the Boer Wars the British established concentration camps to hold both civilians and prisoners of war.
    • In total 109 camps were constructed for Boer and black African internees.
    • The majority of prisoners of war were sent overseas (25,630 out of the 28,000 Boer men captured during the fighting); the vast majority of locally held Boer prisoners were women and children.
    • The camps were poorly administered, the food rations insufficient to maintain health, standards of hygiene were low, and overcrowding was chronic.
    • Over 26,000 women and children died in the camps during the wars.
  • World War I
    • The first international convention on prisoners of war was signed at the Hague Peace Conference of 1899. It was widened by the Hague Convention of 1907. The main combatant nations engaged in World War I abided by the convention and treatment of prisoners was generally good.
    • The situation on the eastern front was significantly worse than the western front, with prisoners in Russia at risk from starvation and disease. In total during the war about eight million men were held in prisoner of war camps, with 2.5 million prisoners in German custody, 2.9 million held by the Russian Empire, and about 720,000 held by Britain and France.
    • Permanent camps did not exist at the beginning of the war.
    • The unexpected large number of prisoners captured in the first days of the war by the German army created an immediate problem.
    • By September 1914, the German army had captured over 200,000 enemy combatants. These first prisoners were held in temporary camps until 1915, by which time the prisoner population had increased to 652,000 living in unsatisfactory conditions.
    • In response, the government began constructing permanent camps both in Germany and the occupied territories. The number of prisoners increased significantly during the war, exceeding one million by August 1915 and 1,625,000 by August 1916, and reaching 2,415,000 by the end of the war.
  • Camps for Russian prisoners and internees in Poland (1919–1924) & Polish prisoners and internees in Soviet Union and Lithuania (1919–1921]
  • World War II
    • The 1929 Geneva Convention on the Prisoners of War established the certain provisions relative to the treatment of prisoners of war. One requirement was that POW camps were to be open to inspection by authorized representatives of a neutral power.
      • Article 10 required that POWs should be lodged in adequately heated and lighted buildings where conditions were the same as their own troops.
      • Articles 27-32 detailed the conditions of labour. Enlisted ranks were required to perform whatever labour they were asked and able to do, so long as it was not dangerous and did not support the captor's war effort. Senior Non-commissioned officers (sergeants and above) were required to work only in a supervisory role. Commissioned officers were not required to work, although they could volunteer. The work performed was largely agricultural or industrial, ranging from coal or potash mining, stone quarrying, or work in saw mills, breweries, factories, railway yards, and forests. POWs hired out to military and civilian contractors and were paid $.80 per day in script in U.S. camps. The workers were also supposed to get at least one day per week of rest.
      • Article 76 ensured that PoWs who died in captivity were honorably buried in marked graves.
    • Not all combatants applied the provisions of the convention. In particular the Empire of Japan, which had signed but never ratified the convention, was notorious for its treatment of prisoners; this poor treatment occurred in part because the Japanese viewed surrender as dishonorable. Prisoners from all nations were subject to forced labour, beatings, murder, and even medical experimentation. Rations fell short of the minimum required to sustain life, and many were forced into labour. After March 20, 1943, the Imperial Navy was under orders to execute all prisoners taken at sea.
  • Korean War
    • There were UN camps & Communist camps.
    • the North Koreans developed reputation for severely mistreating prisoners of war (see Crimes against POWs). Their POWs were housed in three camps, according to their potential usefulness to the North Korean army.
    • Peace camps and reform camps were for POWs that were either sympathetic to the cause or who had valued skills that could be useful in the army and thus these enemy soldiers were indoctrinated and sometimes conscripted into the North Korean army. The regular prisoners of war were usually very poorly treated.
    • POWs in peace camps were reportedly treated with more consideration.
  • Vietnam War U.S. Prisoners of War during the Vietnam War
    • By the end of 1965, Viet Cong suspects, prisoners of war, and even juvenile delinquents were mixed together in South Vietnamese jails and prisons. After June 1965, the prison population steadily rose, and by early 1966, there was no space to accommodate additional prisoners in the existing jails and prisons. In 1965, plans were made to construct five POW camps, each with an initial capacity of 1,000 prisoners and to be staffed by the South Vietnamese military police, with U.S. military policemen as prisoner of war advisers assigned to each stockade.
  • Yugoslav wars
    • There were Serb camps as well as other camps (Čelebići prison camp – Konjic, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina & Lapušnik prison camp – Kosovo)
    • During the 1990s Yugoslav Wars, Serb paramilitary forces supported by JNA forces killed POWs at Vukovar and Škarbrnja while Bosnian Serb forces killed POWs at Srebrenica.
  • Afghanistan and Iraq wars
    • The United States has refused to grant prisoner-of-war status to many prisoners captured during its 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and 2003 invasion of Iraq. This is mainly because the insurgents or terrorists never meet the requirements laid down by the Third Geneva Convention of 1949 such as being part of a chain of command, wearing a "fixed distinctive marking, visible from a distance", bearing arms openly, and conducting military operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
    • The legality of this refusal has been questioned and cases are pending in the U.S. courts. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld on June 29, 2006, that the captives at Guantanamo Bay detention camp were entitled to the minimal protections listed under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. This is under dispute.
    • Other captives, including Saddam Hussein, have been accorded POW status.
    • The International Red Cross has been permitted to visit at least some sites. Many prisoners were held in secret locations (black sites) around the world.

See also

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