Prager Memorial Committee
2018 is the 100th anniversary of the lynching of Robert Prager, a German immigrant who was killed in
Collinsville on April 5, 1918. Prager was the victim of a mob fueled by alcohol and anti-German
hysteria. Although harassment of German immigrants was widespread, Prager was the only German
immigrant lynched in the United States during World War I.
The Prager Memorial Committee was formed in August 2018 to raise funds for the construction of
proper commemorative memorials to the incident in Collinsville. Through these memorials, our
community can take ownership of Prager’s lynching, and use them as tools for learning and
discussion. It is oftentimes stated, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” In
Collinsville, we have the obligation to inform and educate future generations about this unfortunate
incident, in an effort to make sure it never happens again.
For several generations, Prager’s lynching was not openly spoken about in Collinsville due to the
community’s shame. Yet recent generations have only limited knowledge of the lynching and the
tragic incident is gone from the community’s consciousness. The lynching certainly should not be
celebrated, but it must be remembered.
There are no markers in Collinsville that recognize this historic event. The committee proposes to
erect two marker-type memorials. One will be where the lynching tree once stood on St. Louis Road.
Another will be erected in front of City Hall, where a mob of 300 gathered and later removed Robert
Prager from the basement. These monuments would respectfully note the basic facts of the incident,
while inspiring viewers to think about how we can each make today’s world better.
Our first fundraiser, a book signing event for Patriotic Murder: A World War I Hate Crime for Uncle
Sam, raised over $2500 toward the construction of these memorials. We are seeking other sources of
funding and need local individuals and organizations to step up financially to cover the estimated
$5,000 - $10,000 cost to make these memorials a reality in Collinsville.
Please see the following sheet to learn more about the effort and where to send your donation.
Thank you in advance for your support of this important project.
The Prager Memorial Committee