USGenWeb Cherokee County Iowa IAGenWeb

Cherokee County WWII War Stories


PFC. ZEMBSCH WRITES FROM NAZI PRISON CAMP - Pfc. Francis Zembsch, 33, son of Simon Zembsch of Cherokee, was disclosed Thursday to be in a prison camp in Germany.

Captured February 17, 1943, in North African fighting, he was last heard from in an Italian prison camp.  He was transferred early in October, some time after the Italian capitulation.

In a letter to his father dated Oct 8, Pfc. Zembsch tells of his arrival in Germany and asks for supplies as well as letters from his family and friends.

Here is his letter, written on official German prisoner of war stationery:

"Dear Dad: Hope you and all are in good health.  We are not doing badly.  We are having bad weather.  Cold and rainy.

Are now in Germany.  There is a vast difference both in climate and terrain; here there are immense prairie lands dotted with large acreages of pin trees and good looking stucco farm houses.

We saw quite a bit of the Alps.  Their steepness can hardly be exaggerated.  They have strewn with grass and timber..probably the first I have seen since coming to the two continents.  Been here but a few days.  Met a couple of fellows I knew back in the Army.  They've been in Germany for some time.  They tell us we will do farm work here.  I don't know just how it is arranged.  We don't mind it so much now.  The American has it in him to make the best of any circumstance in the field or prison camp.  

Received Red Cross boxes here and the cigarets and coffee were a treat.  You now come to the gimme part.  I'm in need of socks, gloves, blades, tooth brush and a few smokes wouldn't be bad.  This letter is jumbled up but I hope you can make it out.  Tell friends and folks "hello" and to write."

Pfc. Zembsch was in Stalag B-2, Germany.   While in the Italian prison camp, Pfc. Zembsch contracted pneumonia, his father said, but has since recovered.

 Source: Cherokee County Historical Society Newsletter, Vol 15, Num 1, Jan 1980, Sec V, Pg 4.  From the Cherokee Daily Times of Jan. 6, 1944.

Return to War Stories Index

Return to Home Page