An Iowa soldier’s vision of his World War II experience is still intact, even after his death three years ago. In February, 1943, Bob Eckman was one of seven-hundred Iowa National Guardsmen from the Red Oak area captured by the Germans in North Africa. The officers in that group, including Eckman, were taken to a prison camp in Poland. Michael Vogt (voht), curator of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum in Johnston, picks up the story there. Vogt says Eckman used his memories, along with some research and photographs of the camp, to construct a scale model that now sits in the museum. Eckman was a prisoner in the German camp for 28 months. Vogt says Eckman was a fixture at the museum, talking with school kids who’d visit. Vogt says Eckman could point to a window in the barracks where he slept, and tell the students who some of his comrades escaped through a hole in the fence. Vogt says the museum’s library has video of Eckman telling his stories, so they won’t be lost to history. Eckman, who lived in Des Moines, died three years ago.
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