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Old 01-20-2015, 04:39 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Sweden
Posts: 227
Ludwig Winkmann, Wehrmacht/Red Army Soldier/DDR Citizen

The headline seems a bit strange, but the facts are even stranger. This is the story of Ludwig Winkmann - a German man.

I first found a couple of documents on eBay that I placed a bid on. One was a late issue victory over Germany medal document but the interesting thing about it was the German name and the title of the awarded: Citizen of the DDR. This got me looking on the other auctions from the seller. It turns out to be a complete group of medals and documents to one person. As I collect documents of the victory medal and the east German fighter against fascism medal documents this was gold. Both medals were present and reasonably priced. I won all the divided lots, except one medal/doc set - the Ernst Moritz Arndt medal.

After I had won I mailed the seller and asked if he had some more. Sure, there are some paper and photos. Are you interested? I was interested. Turns out that herr Winkmann was a local celebrity and his name was part of a repair group's name at a power plant. Before the group took the name they did a background check in the archives. Just in case there were any skeletons. All this research had been added to a binder which also was for sale. From all the information in the binder and also some letters I could get a pretty good picture of Winkmann.

Born in western Germany he was a working class man. Later he organized himself in the social democratic party joining a sports club, that mainly talked politics. When the nazis took power he got a late night visit, taken from his bed and beaten by SA-thugs. His 1920-ties and 30-ties seems filled of hard times and unemployment.

In 1941 he was called to the army and sent to France for occupation duty. He stayed there until early 1944 when he was shipped to the Eastern front. That was the moment he had been waiting for, unlike so many other. Only a few days after he arrived he crossed the front line in search for someone to surrender to. That turned out to be rather difficult as most took a shot at him when they saw him. Finally in captivity he tells the interrogator about his social democratic history and can even produce his member card to the sports club. This makes the Red army officer ask the question if Winkmann wants to join them in the struggle against Hitler. He does. He is sent to the 1:st Ukrainian front propagandist school in Zhitomir.

After being "educated" what to think and say he's sent to the front line, 60 army and 302 division. Here his job is to convince "the other" Germans not to follow the imperialistic politics of murder and robbery. This meant speaking in loudspeakers when the night set in. The darkness did not help him and he was wounded by a grenade only a few days later.

Recovery is quick and he finds himself in the 256 division. Here he continues his propaganda work. The war then takes him further into central Europe. In Auschwitz he is affected deeply by what he sees. This is a factor, he later claims, to why he volunteers to take up arms against German soldiers at Breslau. A group of 80 Germans in the Red army are armed with rifles and dressed in German uniform with a red arm band. Early may 5 they attack, but after fierce resistance have to retreat. The next day Breslau capitulate to the Red army. In June he and his comrades are set free. They now become "Aktivist der ersten Stunde", the first hour's activist.

The documents were both awarded on the 25 january 1974 by military attaché Vinogradov. The newspaper photo text says that L. Winkman was awarded a high soviet honor by the attaché in thanks for his participation in the ranks of the soviet army.
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