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Winkel Family Genealogy

Updated September 24, 2003

Heidi E. Hafner
(208) 362-0532

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I have been working on my family history for a number of years. I have come up to a brick wall when it comes to my WINKEL line. Christian Wilhelm Winkel is as far as I have been able to go, and all I know of him is that he was born in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. I know of one son that he and his wife had...that was August Wilhelm Friedrich Winkel born August 31, 1864 in Biesenbrow KR. Angermuende, Germany and died July 22, 1938 in Niesky, Oberlausitz, DDR.

August Winkel married Klara Anna Friedrike Karolin Henrietta Pevestorf March 29, 1889 in Berlin Standesamt II. They had 5 children, the third was my grandfather, Otto Gustav Rudolf Winkel.

Otto Winkel was born December 04, 1909 in Neutschau Kreis, Stormarn Standesamt, Bad Oldesloe (Holstein) West Germany and died June 03, 1975 in Santa Rosa, Sonoma Co., CA. He married Irmgard Elisabeth Hedwig Geisler May 19, 1934 in Kreis Rothenburg, Schlesien (Neisky DDR).

Otto Winkel volunteered for the German Army about 1943 and was sent to the Russian front just outside Stalingrad, to serve in the 8th Panzer Division. His unit suddenly found themselves surrounded on 3 sides by Russian troops. Their commanding officer told them to be still, so they would not be discovered. Under cover of blinding snow, they escaped through the only opening toward the American troops. He and his unit surrendered to the American Forces who turned them over to the Russians as POWs in 1944, due to the Jalta treaty.

After suffering for 3 years in a Russian coal mine prison camp, he was released, near death, due to malnutrition. He was sent home to die in December of 1947, as gesture of Good Will by the Russians. The children remember opening a door on their Advent calendar when he surprised them at the door.

Otto's wife, Irmgard, nursed him back to health with the help of their family. Later, Otto escaped East Germany with his wife, Irmgard, and their 4 children to West Berlin in 1951. The whole family lived in one room in a shared flat with 4 other people on the first floor of an apartment building at Momsenstrasse 50. They lived there for three years before they gained permission to emigrate to America. Otto found work in the coal mines of Aachen, West Germany, during that time to support his family.

Otto emigrated to America with his wife, Irmgard, and their 4 children on April 26, 1954 aboard the S.S. United States.

If you have information on this family, or perhaps are connected and would like help from me, please contact me.

Thank you.

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