Local Historian to show WWII memorabilia at UWP

December 6, 2002

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PLATTEVILLE-The Doudna Little Theater at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville was overflowing on Wednesday night with students who came to hear Tom Shinko give his presentation "German Arms and Armaments of WWII."

Peter Dimeglio, a UWP history professor and long-time colleague and friend of Shinko, gave a brief introduction of Shinko and his accomplishments as a teacher and historian.

Shinko is an alumnus of UWP and has been a history teacher in Barneveld for 35 years.

What drew the crowd, besides extra credit from many history professors, was the topic. Shinko has collected military memorabilia for more that 40 years.

"I started collecting things when I was 7 or 8 years old," Shinko said. "I've always been fascinated with the Nazis and WWII."

During his presentation, Shinko gave a brief description about each one of the items he had on display. The collection varied from uniforms and their decorations that German officers had once wore, to the military equipment that they had used. He went over each piece and described who wore or used it and how it was used.

"I received most of my collection from U.S. soldiers who had brought it back from Germany," Shinko said. "The uniforms are the most scarce and most pieces are pretty rare to come across."

"I received extra credit for coming tonight, but I probably would have came anyway. It is really interesting to actually see equipment that was actually used during WWII," said Matt Krahn, a fourth-year student majoring in agribusiness and animal science.

Jim Uppena, a freshman from Cassville majoring in computer science, said, "I've always been interested in WWII and related topics. It was a great presentation about an interesting time period."

"I really enjoy reading about the German military, but what I find even more fascinating is talking to the people who were actually there. Whenever I have a chance to meet a veteran, I love hearing the stories that he has about what it was really like in the midst of WWII," Shinko said.

The UWP History Club, the Department of Social Sciences and the UWP Foundation sponsored the presentation.

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