Dickinson County

Pfc. Edwin Winker




Mrs. Kate Winker received a letter from her son, Edwin, late last week, stating that he was liberated from a German prison camp May 1. Hers was the first letter to reach Milford with the news of a local man having been liberated from a prison camp.

Winker wrote that he was liberated by the Russians, had been traveling by bicycle with several friends, and expected to reach England after he left Germany. His letter, written May 6, is most interesting, and is printed below.

The Winker youth had farmed for his mother west of Milford before he went into service in July, 1942. He went to Europe by way of Liverpool, England, last August, and was listed as missing as of Nov. 13. His mother had a letter from him, written from a German prison camp on Christmas day.

He was with the 95th division of the Third army and his last letter before his capture told of the fighting around Metz. He wrote that Red Cross packages kept him alive during the period of imprisonment.

This is the letter:

May 6, 1945.

Dear Mother: Well, here I am, a free man again. I was freed on May 1 by the Russians. I have been traveling a little since by bicycle and got to the British this afternoon, May 6. I have been having the time of my life the last few days. I am still with some of my old pals from back in the States. We got captured north of Rostock along the Baltic Sea. I am still in Germany and will be in England in a day or two, they say. We sure had it tough here as prisoners – seven men on a loaf of bread and one soup a day. If it hadn’t been for the Red Cross packages, I don’t know how we would have made it, as we worked every day except Sunday.

Lots of us had frozen feet last winter. I didn’t get a letter from you since I was captured; a few came in that [were?] wrote when I did but transportation got pretty bad. I will write again, as soon as possible. By the way, the German guards took off when the Russians came so the 14 of us that were together were on our own. It was pretty exciting for a while and all came through O. K. We were in a small town when captured. I sure hope everyone there is O. K. I am fine and in good health. I could write for hours but will close for now. An English soldier here is telling us a bit of news. From Ed.

Source: The Milford Mail, Milford, Iowa, Thursday, May 24, 1945, Page 1