Wilhelm Gerstenberger- German Paratrooper

Willie is a true gentleman! I met Willie on the train from Nuernberg to Braunschweig, whilst traveling with a group of German paratroopers to their national reunion. Upon hearing that I am from Texas, he grinned and told me that he had been a POW in Mexia, Texas. Willie's life story is incredible. It mirrors the tragedy and success of Germany. He was born in March of 1918. His father fell on the Western Front in September of 1918. Willie grew up in Berlin and witnessed the turmoil of the Weimar period and the rise of the NSDAP. He jumped on Crete and was severly wounded by mortor fire in the first 15 minutes while trying to attend to his buddy that was hit almost instantly. They survived in a cave, being cared for by local peasants until survivors of the battle found them. He also fought in Africa, Russia, Italy and France. He retired a successful business man. I am proud to had have the opportunity to become his friend.
Wilhelm Gerstenberger in Tobruk, Afrika 1942.
Willie as a POW in Mexia, Texas 1944. He was captured in Britany, France. The war has aged him.


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