Diether Heycke was transported to America aboard a Liberty ship and sent to Camp Indianola. From there he was transferred to the Faribault, Minnesota Branch Camp of Camp Algona, where he worked picking and canning sweet corn. In the autumn of 1944, he was sent to Bena, Minnesota, where he worked felling lumber.
Heycke recalled after the war that at one time a small group of PWs stopped in New Ulm, Minnesota for lunch and were surprised to discover everyone in town spoke German. The PWs were obliged to order lunch for their American guards.
Heycke's musical skills served him well while a prisoner. He could not read or write, but he could read music, and while he usually played violin, the band formed by Bena PWs had need for a saxophonist. Heycke learned the instrument in just 6 weeks.
Following the war, Heycke returned to Germany and found employment at the Magdeburg Machine Tool Factory, where he worked until his retirement in 1989.
From the Archives: Interviews and Memories of German POWs