Sioux County

Sgt. Densel Roberts



Mrs. Densel Roberts received word through the Russian government at Moscow, that her husband Sgt. Densel Roberts had been released from a German prison camp and was presumed to be in Poland at present.  The message suggested that she send him a twenty-five word message which they would try to deliver.  It also stated that they would keep her informed and any new developments regarding her husband’s whereabouts.  Roberts was reported missing in Germany sometime in December.

Source:  Sioux Center News, April 12, 1945

Densel Roberts Praises Red Cross For Supplies
Main Diet Furnished By Germans Was Black Bread and Thin Soup; Rescued By Russians.

“If it hadn’t been for the food and clothing furnished us by the Red Cross, I don’t know what we would have done,” said Sgt. Densel Roberts, who spent four months and 17 days in a German prison camp before he was released by the Russians on January 31.

Sgt. Roberts, who was serving in a medical battalion in the Third army when he was captured by the Germans on September 13, 1944, is now enjoying a 60-day furlough with his wife and 16 months old daughter at the home of his wife’s mother, Mrs. John Heuer, of Hawarden.

After he and his companions were captured, they were placed in box cars and shipped across Germany to a prison camp at Kustrin, east of Berlin.

“We nearly starved on that trip,” said Sgt. Roberts.  “The Germans didn’t feed us anything during the nine days except some black bread once in awhile.”

“At the prison camp, we were placed in barracks, 100 men to each.  We had to sleep on the floor all the time, and it was cold.  The Germans gave us two blankets each and we got two blankets each from the Red Cross.”

“All that the Germans fed us was black bread and thin soup made out of rutabagas or sauer kraut.  We got a few potatoes, but very few.  I lost between 30 and 40 pounds while at the camp.”

“If it hadn’t been for the Red Cross, it really would have been tough. We were supposed to get a Red Cross parcel once a week, but sometimes the Germans held them out on us and we just didn’t get any.”

“There were 2,000 Americans in the camp; also a lot of Russians, Italians and French.  We were not mistreated in any other way except underfeeding.  We didn’t have anything to do and nothing to read, except during the last month, when we got some books from the Red Cross.  But we were fortunate at that, because some of the other camps were lots rougher, I have been told by men who were in them.”

“When the Russians released us, they put us Americans on our own.  We walked a long way into Poland before we got transportation. Then we were sent to Odessa on the Black Sea and from there by ship to Italy.”

“I consider myself lucky to be here.  I was overseas about a year and didn’t get a scratch, although I was in the front lines about 60 days.”

Sgt. Roberts will report back for duty on June 26.

Source: Hawarden Independent, Thursday, May 3, 1945