Search results for: flakhelfer-to-grenadier

Flakhelfer to Grenadier

Author : Karl Heinz Schlesier
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On January 7 1943, the German Government, in order to free adult soldiers for frontline duty, ordered that all male students of secondary schools born in 1926 and 1927 be drafted into anti-air craft service in the homeland. Students were to arrive in batteries on February 18 1943. After serving from one year (those born in 1926) to thirteen months (those born in 1927), the boys were transferred into the Reich Labor Service and from there into the armed forces. They were replaced by boys born in 1928 who served to the end of the war. About 200,000 boys became Flakhelfer. Most were called up at sixteen, but many, like the author, Karl Heinz Schlesier, were only fifteen. The boys served in batteries of light and heavy flak. Although the government insisted school programs continue for Flakhelfer, the effort was a sham, especially where heavy bombing occurred. Schlesier, a student of Rethel Gymnasium in Düsseldorf, served as Flakhelfer in the regions that suffered the most numerous and heaviest air raids of the war in the Rhineland (Düsseldorf) and the Ruhr (Recklinghausen). His is a coming of age story in a world gone mad, where a teenage boy launched shrapnel into a sky filled with bombers, where Christmas-tree-like flares marked cities about to burn, where working beside Russian POWs, protecting industries with slave labor, courting a girl among bombed-out ruins, and spending leave with family hiding in claustrophobic bomb shelters was unremarkable, as was finally being thrown, unprepared, into a disintegrating frontline only fifty kilometers from his childhood home. The memoir is based solely on Schlesier's diary notes and memories of that period. He has consciously avoided including what he learned after the war. His views, opinions, and interpretations of events are from inside the Germany of that time. If some are inconvenient today, they mirror the chaos of the world he experienced. Then, to live or not to live was accidental. Schlesier wrote this memoir as an old man in response to a granddaughter's question about what he did in the war. This is his answer. Perhaps, he also gives a voice to the silent generation of boys born in Germany in 1926 and 1927. This generation has been silent because the horror it knew pales in comparison to the horror of the Holocaust.

Justifying Genocide

Author : Stefan Ihrig
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As Stefan Ihrig shows in this first comprehensive study, many Germans sympathized with the Ottomans’ longstanding repression of the Armenians and with the Turks’ program of extermination during World War I. In the Nazis’ version of history, the Armenian Genocide was justifiable because it had made possible the astonishing rise of the New Turkey.

Annales Silesiae

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German books in print

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Last Laurels

Author : Georg Gunter
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By January 1945, Upper Silesia had become Germany's key industrial region, with its coal mines, blast furnaces, arms factories and hydrogenation plants. Not surprisingly, when the Soviets launched a series of powerful offensives aimed at capturing the region, the German defence was bitter, bordering on the suicidal. Soviet reactions were brutal, the Red Army committing widespread atrocities, which have received little coverage until now. In this readable and fast-paced translation from the German edition, the author presents a penetrating description of the events which occurred in Silesia during the first five months of 1945 - from the massive Soviet offensive on 12th January, through to the final German defensive actions around Ratibor five months later. The translation and publication of Last Laurels represents a major contribution to the military history of the Eastern Front in the English language, filling a yawning gap in our knowledge of the most titanic armed struggle the world has yet seen. Key topics covered include: Prelude to the Soviet offensive / Opening of the Soviet Vistula-Oder offensive, 12 January 1945 / Initial German counter-attacks / Defence of Gleiwitz, Oppeln, and many other smaller locations recounted in detail / Eventual Soviet capture of the industrial district / Attack and counter-attack at Ratibor and the Glatzer Neisse / 1st Panzer Army's successful defence against Soviet attacks, February 1945 / German XI Corps counter-attacks / Soviet Schwarzwasser offensive, March 1945 / Decisive events in western Upper Silesia / The loss of Neisse and Leobschütz / Final Soviet offensive actions around Jägerndorf and Troppau . Main Selling Points - Contains a great number of German personal accounts Many small-unit actions recounted in detail Includes orders-of-battle for both German and Soviet forces