Frankly speaking, I don’t give a damn about German suffering during the war….they hailed and supported Hitler and the genocide and the Allies crushed them…..They deserved all their suffering and more…..rsk
Soviet Troops Raped and Ravaged. German Civilians Committed Suicide in Despair. And On May 8, 1945, The Nazis at Last Surrendered
For more than 20 years, the German novelist and archivist Walter Kempowski collected newspaper articles, diaries, letters, memoirs and documents written by people on both sides of the fighting and from every station in life during World War II. The result was a 10-volume magnum opus, “Das Echolot” (or “Sonar”), documenting ordinary life in Nazi Germany during the monumental days of the war through the eyes of thousands of German and Allied citizens.
The series began in 1993 with a volume on Operation Barbarossa, the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941. “Swansong 1945” is the last book in the series, originally published in German in 2005, two years before Kempowski’s passing. Kempowski zooms in on just four days from the final year of the war: Hitler’s 56th birthday on April 20; the first encounter of Soviet and U.S. forces in Germany on April 25 at the Elbe River; Hitler’s suicide in his Berlin bunker on April 30; and Germany’s unconditional surrender on May 8. It offers an emotionally immediate and multi-faceted perspective of the last days of the Third Reich.
Born in 1929 into a conservative upper-middle-class family, Kempowski grew up in the northeastern German town of Rostock. Like most of his peers, he had to join the Hitler Youth. In February 1945, the 16-year-old was drafted into an auxiliary anti-aircraft unit as a messenger. At the end of the war, Kempowski worked for a short time as a store clerk for American military in Wiesbaden. In 1948, while visiting his family in Rostock, then in the Soviet zone of occupation, Kempowski, his brother and his mother were arrested and sentenced to hard labor for espionage. Released in 1956, a traumatized Kempowski moved back to West Germany and started a family.
In the late 1960s, he won recognition for his autobiographical novels about his time in the Hitler Youth and in a communist prison. But Kempowski wanted to do more than document his own story. He wanted to rescue “the voices of the dead,” and do justice to the memory of the wartime generation.