Sioux County

Cpl. Donald Brommer


Seven men left Tues. for their final physicals, namely Irvin Mouw, John Wesselink, Willis Meylink, Lawrence Bleeker, Don Brommer, Clayton Balkema and Richard Meyer.  Walter Schaap of Alton was also with this group.

Source: Sioux Center News Feb. 24, 1944 p 9


A contingent of Sioux County men left Orange City on Wednesday, March 22, for Camp Dodge, where they were inducted into the army.  It was one of the largest groups of selectees that has been sent from Sioux County at one time. 
Included in the group were the following men:
Sioux Center: ... Donald Brommer, ...

Source: Hawarden Independent Mar. 30, 1944 p 1

Pvt. Donald Brommer 37692670, has this address: 1st Platoon, Co. C, 99th Inf. Tng. Bn. I.R.C., Camp Roberts, Calif.

Source: Sioux Center News Apr. 13, 1944 p 20

Pvt. Donald Brommer who was home on a 15 day furlough from Camp Roberts, Calif. left again on Sunday evening.

Source: Sioux Center News Aug. 31, 1944 p 17

Pvt. Donald Brommer has moved from Camp Roberts, Calif. to Texas.  His new address is:
Pvt. Donald Brommer 37692670
Co. B. 393rd Inf., 99th Div.
APO 449, c/o Postmaster
Camp Maxey, Texas

Source: Sioux Center News Sept. 7, 1944 p 16

Pvt. Donald Brommer has moved from Camp Maxey, Texas to New York where he has an overseas address.  Call the News for it.

Source: Sioux Center News Sept. 14, 1944 p 19

Donald Brommer writes from England--
Oct. 13, 1944
Dear News Force;
I am not much good at letter writing so you will just have to excuse it.  Will you please send the paper to the following address:
Pvt. Donald Brommer 37692670
Co. B, 393 Inf. Regt.
APO 449, c/o Postmaster
New York, N. Y.
I miss the paper very much and hope you will send it. 
The country here is pretty and everything is neat and colorful.  It has rained here every day yet since we arrived.  It gets pretty cold here in the night, but we manage to keep warm with a small stove. 
Well, just haven't a thing more to write.  So just please send the paper.  I am feeling fine and everything is good as can be expected.  Give my regards to the Sioux Center people.
So long, Don Brommer

Source: Sioux Center News Nov. 2, 1944 p 19

Friends here have received word recently that Donald Brommer, son of Mrs. Henry Heemstra of Sheldon, is now in Belgium.

Source: Sioux Center News Dec. 7, 1944 p 15

Don Brommer Is German Prisoner
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Heemstra of Sheldon received work this week Tuesday that their son Donald is a German Prisoner.  He was reported as missing in action by the War Department since December 17th, somewhere in France.  It is just a year ago this month that Donald entered the service. 

Source: Sioux Center News Mar. 15, 1945 p 1

Prisoner of War
Pfc. Donald Brommer, 19, son of Mrs. Henry Heemstra of Sheldon, is a prisoner of the Germans, according to a message received from the Red Cross.  Mrs. Heemstra had previously been notified on January 17 that her son was missing since December 17.
In the last letter received from him, he wrote under date of Dec. 10 that he had just received his combat infantry badge. 
Pfc. Brommer left for army training March 22, 1944.  He received his basic at Camp Roberts, Calif. and after having one furlough in September he was sent overseas and by November was in Belgium.
He has a brother, Pfc. Lester Brommer, of the Air Corps stationed at Sioux Falls. 
The young men both attended school at Sioux Center and worked for their mother with the Brommer Transfer Company. 
--Sheldon Mail--

Source: Alton Democrat Mar. 22, 1945 p 8

Donald Brommer Writes From German Prison Camp
Mrs. Henry Heemstra has received three cards from her son Donald who is a prisoner of war in Germany.  He asked for cigarettes and chocolate bars, and says he is getting along alright.  Anyone wishing to write to Donald may do so by getting a Prisoner of War envelope from the Postmaster.  These envelopes are free and require no postage.  His address is: PFC Donald Brommer, Prisoner of War No. 19419, Stalag XIII C, Germany.

Source: Sioux Center News Mar. 29, 1945 p 1

Mrs. Jennie Heemstra of Sheldon received a telegram from her son Donald Tuesday that he had arrived safely in New York City and would be seeing her soon.  Donald has been liberated from a German Prison after five months captivity.
Last week she had received a letter written April 27, in which Don stated he had considerable trouble with his stomach.  He said he hoped never to see barbed wire fences or starvation again.

Source: Sioux Center News May 17, 1945 p 10

Donald Brommer Is Home From German Prison Camp
Donald Brommer is back home again on a sixty day furlough after spending from December 16 to April 17 in German prison camps. 
He was captured south of Aachen in the "Belgium Bulge" after about 35 days in combat.  Captives were sent on foot to one camp, then herded into boxcars with a quarter loaf of bread as the only food they were given in four days.  No water was supplied them in that time.  They were later placed in a work battalion cleaning streets in Schweinfurt, Germany.  In March they were sent out on the road and they marched 16 miles daily for twelve days, keeping just ahead of American lines as they pressed closer.  They finally landed at Nuremburg.
On April 8th they heard the rumble of artillery and when an attempt was made to herd them out on the road again, the Americans simply said they couldn't march anymore.  So they remained in the camp until an American tank came through the gates to release them.  They were flown to France by plane, then by boat to England, and then back to the states.
Don lost about twenty-five pounds, but has gained a lot of it back.  He had none to spare to start with, but is looking good now considering his experiences. 
He will report back at Hot Springs, Arkansas at the expiration of his furlough. 

Source: Sioux Center News May 24, 1945 p 1

Sunday April 8th--
Just arrived in Stalag XIII D.  Haven't had any food for two days so I enjoyed a cup of tea received from an English chap.  Just like home.  It was really good, better than candy.
Monday, April 9th--
Awakened by the sound of strafing planes.  American Thunderbolts dive bombed and strafed the troop trains standing on the side tracks in Marzfeld station opposite to the camp.  Splendid weather - news good.  One spearhead takes a town 31 miles north of the city.  Other forces are 38 miles west.  Rations are lousy. In fact only two small potatoes and one teaspoon of sugar for the day.
Received my first Red Cross parcel while a P.O.W.  What a feed! Eleven pounds of food all at once.  More American P.O.W.'s are brought in from the latest push.  Two wounded men are in this barrack.
Tuesday, April 10th--
Artillery activity during the night, but today except for air patrols and good weather is very little to report.
Wednesday, April 11th--
This day brought many surprises.  Great flights of bombers attacked the rail yards this afternoon at 15:30 hours.  The 18:00 hrs. news gave the following: "Halifax and Lancaster today bombed objectives in the area Nuremburg, Regensburg, Munich."  So that explains the raid.
Thursday, April 12th
Today has been marked by very heavy artillery fire but very little air activity.  News report that the front is certainly moving in toward the city - approximate distance 28 miles away.
Friday, April 13th
Unlucky 13th.  Threat today of moving us once again.  They moved 1300 men out.  But fortunately I was put on the unfit to march list.  My feet and back are bad.  News is good of Patton's new drive extending south from Bayreuth for 15 miles.  Also gain 10 miles on the northwest (from here) 7th Army front of General Patch.
Saturday, April 14th
Am passed by the German doctor, "Unfit to March".  So I may stay until the Yanks get here.  Heavy artillery barrage at dawn.  News is still good.  Later American dive bombers shot up and bombed the German A.A. guns south of camp.  The men unfit to march are assembled and marched down to the hospital block.  This is about 200 yards from the main railway line. (Marzfeld).  The rest of the camp start marching and we are left in the charge of a few old guards and a German Medical Corporal as Lager Kommandant. 
Sunday, April 15th
News is good, the 7th Army is 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Nuremburg.  We see some dive bombers attacking gun sites and other positions.
Monday, April 16th
The attack against the town is started.  The principal firing is in the northeast of the town.  The Germans appear to be using the A.A. guns as field artillery.  The Yanks are sending over heavy barrages and are out-distancing the Germans.  In different parts of the town explosions and fires can be seen.  Early this morning some huge explosions started up six kilometers from here.  It must have been an underground dump.  The concussion was the worst I have experienced and was like an earthquake.  Later the Germans put their guns alongside the camp and we felt very uneasy as to the possible consequences of this action as we had already put up white flags, for recognition on the watch towers and hut roofs.  The tremendous explosions mentioned earlier caused a dust storm which descended like hail stones on the tents and huts and continued most of the day and pillars of smoke spouted in the air three to four miles high.  I feel a bit uneasy at present.  An order just came down, "be prepared to move, we are on the march again".  But fortunately it was changed again.  Personally I'll sweat it out here until the Yanks come.  But the so-called German Superman still is boss of me while a P.O.W.  But time will tell.
Tuesday, April 17th
We have just passed the most hideous night since I was captured.  Our apprehensions at the mounting of guns by the camp were more than realized.  As dusk came on, we would see colored shells and tracer bullets about three miles away, in fact just like on the front lines.  Oh.  What fun.  Then everything let loose, the Germans started firing; firing at the front lines.  Then came the return fire, we were caught in no-man's land so called.  Every two or three minutes throughout the night the barrage raged one side against the other.  Some men were in shallow self-prepared slit trenches of inadequate depth.  The rest of us remained in our beds.  How many of the shells fell within the camp limits is impossible to say.  They threatened to annihilate two thousand men packed within close confines of a small compound, men of every nationality among the allies.  The miracle happened; after this shower of screaming shells, we had only one man wounded.  Yet shells landed within 80 yards of our tents and we have some excellent shrapnel holes on exhibition in this tent, one five feet from my head.  Phew!!  And the guards watch tower and road was badly mauled; but the white flag still flying.  At 7:30 hours the Germans were paid off with interest!  American Thunderbolts dive bombed and repeatedly strafed those cursed guns.  We cheered at every explosion; as this finished off we heard the front really warm up and right behind us machine guns and everything started up.  Suddenly the German Medical Corporal yelled: "Die Amerikaner sind schon heir." (The Americans are already here).  He ran to the gate in time to meet the first tank followed by the infantry with all of its equipment.  So that means "LIBERATION!!"  The corporal after raising his hands gave over the camp and in came the first tank, straight in without bothering about opening the gates properly.  Then backwards and forwards, knocking down the wire fences and posts and straight p the road.  We went mad with joy.  I am forced to admit that tears rolled down my cheeks, we were free once again after a long and gruesome four months of P.O.W. life.  As I write these notes I hardly realize it while the battle outside for Nuremburg continues to rage.  Dive bombers are overhead and shells pour into the town, incessantly crushing the remaining resistance points.  We are standing by to move at any time now, into our own lines and we hope a quick home journey.  Food and kitchen units are coming to us and transport is being arranged.  Though happily we have Red Cross parcels here.  The first German P.O.W.s are now marching past us with an American Medium tank bringing up the rear.  We found some beer in the camp so we have first toasted the homeward journey.  Later at 16:45 hours a barrage of about 20 shells which the Jerry tried to put over the American positions but ranged short and fell in the center of the camp in the Russian P.O.W. tent area and some of them were unfortunately killed eight hours after their liberation.  Also there was a further casualty from the night bombardment among the Serbian officers in another compound.  Major General Fredericks of the 45th Division visited the camp (one of Patton's spearhead generals).  An American engineer has taken over duties as temporary camp commandant and evacuation plans have been completed, we merely await the word to go.
Wednesday, April 18
American heavy guns pounded the town all night.  The Burgermaster has said, "We will fight to the last."  He did enjoy the barrage of heavy stuff that went over.  The first German planes made a half-hearted attempt to strafe one or two gun positions during the night.  This morning at 6:30 hrs. the town received a terrific pounding.  It is about 6 X 6 miles in area and they sent the Germans practically a shell for every inhabitant.  From every point of the compass shells from every caliber poured into the buildings and now as I write dive bombers are strafing and bombing as the tanks and assault troops roll on towards their objective.  The ground has shaken here continuously for some time. 
The city is completely hidden under a great wall of smoke and firing has become more of the close range type with occasional dive bombing by some of our planes.  The tanks have really gotten into the area and motor vehicles of all kinds are on the move. 
Visited the first knocked out German guns.  Nearly all of them had been put out of action, the few remaining ones being sabotaged by the fleeing Nazi superman race. 
Thursday, April 19th
The fighting continues and according to the boys the town is pretty troublesome.  Officers told us that the worst fanatics are all the Hitler youths, kids aged from 12 to 14 years.  Some of these have dropped grenades from upstairs windows on to the troops passing along the streets.  Shells continue to pour into certain quarters of the city. 
We are allowed complete freedom of movement and the Yanks are very willing to help us in every way.  This will be an unforgettable experience. 
Friday, April 20th
Today is Hitler's birthday and Nuremburg was his pet city, the H.Q. of the Nazi party.  We celebrated in great style and so did the Yanks.  We went into town via the stadium where we were photographed standing in the arena with the Nazi Swastika.  Then later on I got a German car out of a garage.  Yes my first car that I could call my own.  Yes and I had it on 85 kilos an hour. 
Saturday, April 21st
Went to Nuremburg for a look around again.  Didn't see much but like usual came back with some refreshments. 
Went just like the old days again.  Guess what? Yes, slept all day long.  Then it rained and I had to move my bed on account of holes in the tent.
Monday, April 23rd
Didn't do much today.  Had roll call at nine and then signed our evacuation papers.  I was assigned to plane number one, but who knows when we all leave for home.  I hope soon.  Also was interviewed by Herb Plamback, War correspondent WHO Des Moines, Iowa.
Tuesday, April 24th
Moved from Nuremburg to an airport and field hospital.  Got deloused and a hot shower.  Then went to bed at about twelve midnight.
Wednesday, April 25th
Left Germany by airplane.  My first ride in a plane.  But it did feel good to leave Germany.  Ate breakfast and dinner in Germany, had tea and cookies in Brussels, Belgium and coffee and doughnuts in France.  That's what I call a fast day.  They took us to Camp Lucky Strike by busses. 
Thursday, April 26th
It feels good to be in an army camp once more among G.I.'s.  Got issued new clothes and shoes today.
Friday, April 27th
Had a shot in the arm today.  It didn't hurt but my arm is getting stiff at present.  Also went through interrogation today and several other small things too numerous to mention.
Saturday, April 28th
Moved to another part of camp called the "Shipping Area".  The next move to boat.
Wednesday, May 2nd
Got our shipping order and trucks took us to the boat.  We left from La Havre harbor.  We first go to England to pick up some wounded. 
Friday, May 3rd
Left the harbor of South Hampton, England.  So now we are finally on our homeward bound trip.
Saturday, May 4th
We are somewhere in the Atlantic.  The trip so far is good.  This is my last entry into the diary.
(The End)

Source: Sioux Center News July 5, 1945 p 2

Pfc. Donald Brommer left on Wednesday evening to report at Hot Springs, Arkansas after enjoying an overseas furlough with family and friends here and at Sheldon.

Source: Sioux Center News Aug. 2, 1945 p 1

New address:
Pfc. Donald Brommer 37692670
P.O.W. Camp No. 26
Storm Lake, Iowa

Source: Sioux Center News Aug. 30, 1945 p 10

Cpl. Don Brommer 37692670
Hq. Det. of S.C.U.
P.O.W. Camp
Algona, Iowa

Source: Sioux Center News Oct. 11, 1945 p 23

Donald Brommer is back having received his official discharge Nov. 26.  He will work at the Brommer Transfer Company.

Source: Sioux Center News Nov. 29, 1945 p 20