- Note - The following diary
extract has been provided by the nephew of the author under the conditions
we honor his request for anonymity.
- A transcript of my Uncle's words...from my Mother's
- "Suddenly an American Jeep moved towards us and
several American Soldiers surrounded us. There was no officer in charge,
and the first thing the 'Amis' did - they liberated us, I mean, from our
few valuables, mainly rings and watches........ We were now prisoners of
war- no doubt about it!
- The first night we were herded into a barn, where we
met about 100 men who shared the same fate. To make my story short, we
were finally transported to Fuerstenfeldbruck near Munich. Here we, who
were gathered around Hermann, interrupted him and gasped in dismay.
- Fuerstenfeldbruck had become known to us as one of the
most cruel POW camps in the American zone.
- Then my brother continued:
- Again we were searched and had to surrender everything,
even our field utensils, except a spoon. Here, in freezing temperature,
20,000 of us were squeezed together on the naked ground, without blanket
or cover, exposed day and night to the winter weather.
- For six days we received neither food nor water! We used
our spoons to catch drops of rain.
- We were surrounded by heavy tanks. During the night
searchlights blinded us, so that sleep was impossible. We napped from time
to time, standing up and leaning against each other. It was keeping us
warmer that sitting on the frozen ground.
- Many of us were near collapse. One of our comrades went
mad, he jumped around wildly, wailing and whimpering. he was shot at once.
His body was lying on the ground, and we were not allowed to come near
him. He was not he only one. Each suspicious movement caused the guards
to shoot into the crowd, and a few were always hit.
- German civilians, mainly women of the surrounding
tried to approach the camp to bring food and water for us prisoners. they
were chased away.
- Our German officers could finally succeed to submit an
official protest, particularly because of the deprivation of water. As
a response, a fire hose was thrown into the midst of the densely crowded
prisoners and then turned on. Because of the high water pressure the hose
moved violently to and fro. Prisoners tumbled, fell, got up and ran again
to catch a bit of water. In that confusion the water went to waste, and
the ground under us turned into slippery mud. All the while the 'Amis'
watched that spectacle, finding it very funny and most entertaining. They
laughed at our predicament as hard as they could. Then suddenly, they
the water off again.
- We had not expected that the Americans would behave in
such a manner. We could hardly believe it. War brutalizes human
- One day later we were organized into groups of 400 men
.... We were to receive two cans of food for each man. This is how it was
to be done: The prisoners had to run through he slippery mud, and each
one had to grab his two cans quickly, at the moment he passed the guards.
One of my comrades slipped and could not run fast enough, He was shot at
- On May 10th , several truckloads of us were transported
the the garrison of Ulm by the Danube..... As each man jumped into the
truck, a guard kicked him in the backbone with his rifle butt.
- We arrived in the city of Heilbronn by the Neckar, In
the end we counted 240,000 men, who lived on the naked ground and without
- Spring and summer were mild this year, but we were
At 6;00 am we received coffee, at noon about a pint of soup and 100 grams
of bread a day........
- The 'Amis' gave us newspapers in German language,
the terrors of the concentration camps. We did not believe any of it.
We figured the Americans only wanted to demoralize us further.
- The fields on which we lived belonged to the farmers
of the area...soon nothing of the clover and other sprouting greens were
left, and the trees were barren. We had eaten each blade of
- In some camps there were Hungarian POW's. 15,000 of them.
Mutiny against their officers broke out twice amongst them. After the
mutiny the Americans decided to use German prisoners to govern the
Since the Hungarians were used as workers they were well fed. There was
more food than they could eat. But when the Germans asked the Americans
for permission to bring the Hungarians' leftovers into the camps of the
starving Germans, it was denied. The Americans rather destroyed surplus
food, than giving it to the Germans.
- Sometimes it happened that groups of our own men were
gathered and transported away. We presumed they were discharged to go home,
and naturally, we wished to be among them. Much later we heard they were
sent to labor camps! My mother's cousin, feared that he would be drafted
into the Hitler Youth SS, he volunteered to the marines, in 1945 his unit
was in Denmark. On April 20th they were captured by the Americans. his
experience in the POW camp was identical that of my brother's. They lived
in open fields, did not receive and food and water the first six days,
and starved nearly to death. German wives and mothers who wanted to throw
loaves of bread over the fence, were chased off. The prisoners, just to
have something to chew, scraped the bark from young trees. my cousins job
was to report each morning how many had died during the night. "and
these were not just a few!" he adds to his report he wrote me.
- It became known, that the conditions in the POW camps
in the American Zone were identical everywhere. We could therefore safely
conclude, that it was by intent and by orders from higher ups to starve
the German POW's and we blamed General Eisenhower for it. He, who was of
German descent could not discern the evildoers during the Nazi time from
our decent people. We held that neglect of knowledge and understanding
severely against him.
- I wish to quote the inscription on the grave stones of
those of my German compatriots who have already passed away:
- We had to pass through fire and through water. But now
you have loosened our bonds.