Review For Volk and Fuhrer by Erwin Bartmann

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When I bought this last week it was an Amazon Kindle deal for a few bucks.

The book is an auto-bio of a German soldier in the 1st Waffen SS Leibstandarte division. The division started out as Hitler's guard and morphed into a Panzer division seeing combat pretty much everywhere.

The author enlisted in '40 or '41 (I can't remember). Wounded in the battle of Kursk (Operation Citadel), he spent the remainder of the war in various convalescent or training commands as an instructor before the battle for Berlin. There, after several fights, he managed to escape and eventually make his way to a POW camp in Scotland. He would obtain UK citizenship in 1955 or so.

What struck me about his story is how much it mirrored a soldier's experience in pretty much any war. Training. Treatment of soldiers vs. NCOs vs. officers. Equipment shortages. Lack of food and lack of sleep. Terror. Uncertainty and problem solving in the absence of orders. The list can go on.

He emphatically states his company did not participate in war crimes, so maybe that's true or not. He was pretty raw in recounting some of his experiences though which again, mirrors other soldiers' accounts I've read.

It's a very good book, especially for the price right now on Amazon. I recommend it and give it 8 out of 10 marching songs.
 
Quite possible his company did not...many panzer units were busy in military operations...but some of that division was believed to have been used in some war crimes...

1. SS-Panzerdivision "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler"
(Originally a regiment; expended to a division in 1943)

  • 1939: murdered 50 civilians in Błonie, Poland
  • 1939: murdered 200 civilians, including children, in Złoczew, Poland
  • 1940: murdered 80 surrendered prisoners of war at Wormhoudt, France
  • 1941: suspected of the murder of 4,000 surrendered prisoners of war at Kherson, USSR
  • 1942: murdered several hundred patients in a hospital at Kharkov, USSR
  • 1943: murdered 872 civilians, including children, many being burned alive, near Kharkov, USSR
  • 1943: murdered 49 civilians, some by drowning after tying them up, at Lake Maggiore in Italy
  • 1944: murdered 34 civilians in Tavaux and Plomion, France
  • 1944: murdered 84 surrendered prisoners of war at Malmedy, Belgium
  • 1944: murdered 11 surrendered prisoners of war after first mutilating them at Wereth, Belgium
1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler - Wikipedia
History of the 1.SS Panzer-Division - Battle of Normandy - 1944

Pretty interesting youtube on them too....

 
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I do like reading books from a German soldiers point of view....another good one is:

The Forgotten Soldier – January 1, 1999​

by Guy Sajer (Author)

German soldier's first-hand account of life on Russian front during the second half of the Second World War. When Guy Sajer joins the infantry full of ideals in the summer of 1942, the German army is enjoying unparalleled success in Russia. However, he quickly finds that for the foot soldier the glory of military success hides a much harsher reality of hunger, fatigue and constant deprivation.
 
I do like reading books from a German soldiers point of view....another good one is:

The Forgotten Soldier – January 1, 1999​

by Guy Sajer (Author)

German soldier's first-hand account of life on Russian front during the second half of the Second World War. When Guy Sajer joins the infantry full of ideals in the summer of 1942, the German army is enjoying unparalleled success in Russia. However, he quickly finds that for the foot soldier the glory of military success hides a much harsher reality of hunger, fatigue and constant deprivation.

That is a good book, been a few years since I read it though.
 
Quite possible his company did not...many panzer units were busy in military operations...but some of that division was believed to have been used in some war crimes...

1. SS-Panzerdivision "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler"
(Originally a regiment; expended to a division in 1943)

  • 1939: murdered 50 civilians in Błonie, Poland
  • 1939: murdered 200 civilians, including children, in Złoczew, Poland
  • 1940: murdered 80 surrendered prisoners of war at Wormhoudt, France
  • 1941: suspected of the murder of 4,000 surrendered prisoners of war at Kherson, USSR
  • 1942: murdered several hundred patients in a hospital at Kharkov, USSR
  • 1943: murdered 872 civilians, including children, many being burned alive, near Kharkov, USSR
  • 1943: murdered 49 civilians, some by drowning after tying them up, at Lake Maggiore in Italy
  • 1944: murdered 34 civilians in Tavaux and Plomion, France
  • 1944: murdered 84 surrendered prisoners of war at Malmedy, Belgium
  • 1944: murdered 11 surrendered prisoners of war after first mutilating them at Wereth, Belgium
1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler - Wikipedia
History of the 1.SS Panzer-Division - Battle of Normandy - 1944

Pretty interesting youtube on them too....


Wow, they even quote the author of this thread's book. That said, I thought the video was very well done and quite fair.
 
I do like reading books from a German soldiers point of view....

Here's another that I've read 3 times and am planning a 4th before I die...Rommel's War in Africa by Wolf Heckmann. The author was a member of the Afrika Korps. It's not a biography about Rommel. It's about day to day desert operations by the Brits and the Germans and their many encounters. Heckmann interviewed many of his old foes in the British 7th Armored.

Amazon.com
 
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