Death March through Russia (Hardback)
The Memoir of Lothar Herrmann
In this rare World War II memoir, Lothar Herrmann, a soldier from the Wehrmacht, details his unimaginable experience as a German Prisoner-of-War in the Soviet Union.
Hermann grew up in Bavaria, going through the RAD (Nazi Labour Service) before being conscripted into a Wehrmacht Mountain Division (the Gebirgsdivision) in 1940. He participated in Germany’s advance through southern Ukraine in 1941 and, in 1944, was arrested in Romania while retreating to Germany. The Romanians passed him onto the Soviets, who placed him in a forced labour camp, where he watched two-thirds of prisoners around him die. In 1949, Herrmann was finally released to Germany and returned to Bavaria.
Three million German troops were taken prisoner by the Red Army and around two-thirds of them survived to return to Germany in 1949, but their stories are little known. Klaus Willmann draws on interviews he conducted with Herrmann, to recount these astonishing recollections in the first-person. Depicting the challenges of growing up in Nazi Bavaria to becoming a Soviet prisoner-of-war, this is a gripping and enlightening account from a necessary but rarely explored perspective.
All war can be brutal and tragic, but the war between Germany and the Soviet Union was in a class of its own, a celebration of inhumanity. The author has provided a picture of this brutal conflict’s painful ending for so many German soldiers. – Most Highly Recommended.Firetrench
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This is a first hand account of a German pow at the hands of the Russians.... It is a harrowing tale but one that should be read and understood.Amazon Customer, Richard Domoney-Saunders
It has an easy flow to it and also told without bravado and is told exactly as it happened.
This is really recommended as an alternative to what you read from everyday books that don't deal with how the German pow were treated.
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It is perhaps improper to describe a book that describes much abject misery as an enjoyable read but this book, despite its story, is very enjoyable. It is the simple narrative of the life of Lothar Hermann, an ordinary Wehrmacht soldier and in particular his time in captivity enduring forced labour until his release in 1949. ‘Enduring’ is the key word as it is a story of endurance and the triumph of a strong minded young man over the physical and mental punishments he had to deal with. Throughout his story he does not invite sympathy; he recognises that his misfortunes were shared not only by millions of other German POW’s but also the Russian population who were scarcely better off. Occasional glimpses of kindness and hope define the victory of the human spirit over the dehumanising conditions; the chapter on his capture is particularly troubling. This is one of an increasing number of translations of German personal accounts and is well worth the read to balance the rather binary ‘Nazis versus the rest’ histories.Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide