Mason City Globe Gazette

Mason City, IA

17 May 1945




Large German Towns Now Only Rubble

By Frank Miles

In Germany (IDPA) -- German residents paid a fearful price both in mental distress and material losses for allowing themselves to be goose-stepped into another world war by Hitler and his henchmen.

Air raids and artillery and infantry attacks have caused unbelievable devastation. All the large cities and hundred of towns are masses of ruble. Thousands of homes have been razed.

As our troops advanced most of the people gathered a few personal belongings either in carts or on their backs and hurried away. After a time they could go no farther. They learned they might go back to their domiciles if the pass American screening. Most of them did and made long treks to return. Thousands could be seen on the highways.

Germany had 9,000,000 forced laborers from conquering countries and prisoners of war. Millions have been liberated. A majority left for their homes after they were freed. Long lines moved along the roads. The natives feared them but only a small per cent made trouble. American officers and men are remarkably fair in the handling of problems.

Lt. Carl E. Linder, Des Moines, of the 9th armored division, of the first army in Germany, was among the first to lead a company of Sherman tanks across the Rhine at the German town of Erpel. The Iowan soon captured a torn and muddy nazi flag which flew from a brown stone building 100 feet from the east end of the Ludendorf bridge. He said he would send it to the Iowa State Historical Society. After Linder's outfit established road blocks, Capt. George P. Soumas, Perry, came through his company to obtain the high ground that commanded the vital bridgehead.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, May 17, 1945

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