EASTLAND, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- An Eastland man who was killed in action during the Second World War is now at the center of a German documentary film called ‘Die Ecke’ or ‘The Corner.’ The film follows the great-nephew of soldier Robert V. Wynne, Robert Culverhouse, as he travels to the small German Village where his great-uncle died in 1945. Culverhouse retraces his great-uncle’s footsteps through the streets and converses with the people who experienced the battle firsthand.
The photograph rose to prominence after the war, though Culverhouse said he and his family had no idea that one of the men pictured was his great-uncle. This realization made his involvement in the production and trip to Oberdorla, Germany, all that much more incredible.
“I’ve always been proud of my name. Named after him, who gave his life in service of the country. But to find out that he died in such a way, and it was memorialized in that picture,” Culverhouse said.
KTAB/KRBC met up with Culverhouse at the Eastland County Museum, where many of Wynne’s personal effects and letters written during the war are now on display. As he looked through the items in the exhibit, Culverhouse recalled walking the streets of Oberdorla in the footsteps of his late great-uncle.
“He was the only American soldier that was killed in that village, so we know for sure that it was him in that picture,” Culverhouse shared.
He and the production crew stopped along the way to chat with locals, some of whom recall that day. One man told Culverhouse that he recalls hiding in the basement of one of the homes pictured when he was about three or four years old.
“He remembers looking out the window that was on this side of the house. Seeing the American boots run by and seeing the tank tracks roll by and feeling the ground shake,” Culverhouse said.
As he followed his relative’s path, Culverhouse wore the very same watch his great uncle had on during the battle. He described the experience as extremely surreal and difficult to put into words.
“Just that, a 19-year-old kid who was one of hundreds of thousands of Americans that died in World War II had an effect on the world,” Culverhouse expressed.
The film has been aired on German television and entered into several European film festivals. Eastland’s Majestic Theater will host a special screening of the documentary on September 17 with the producer, who will be traveling down from Germany for the event.
Culverhouse has seen the film and said it is nothing short of a work of art. He describes it not as an average historical documentary but as a reflection on the strange way people can be connected through time.
“Just to be able to be able to be a part of telling his story to the world was amazing,” Culverhouse said.
The Robert V. Wynne Exhibit is on display now at the Eastland County Museum located at 114 South Seaman Street in Eastland. The Majestic Theater screening of ‘Die Ecke’ will be free to the public on September 17. Although most of the film is in German, English captions will be provided.