Description - Fur Volk and Fuhrer by Erwin Bartmann
Like many Germans, Berlin schoolboy Erwin Bartmann fell under the spell of the Zeitgeist cultivated by the Nazis. Convinced he was growing up in the best country in the world, he dreamt of joining the Leibstandarte, Hitler's elite Waffen SS unit. Tall, blond, blue-eyed, and just seventeen-years-old, Erwin fulfilled his dream on Mayday 1941, when he gave up his apprenticeship at the Glaser bakery in Memeler Strasse and walked into the Lichterfelde barracks in Berlin as a raw, volunteer recruit. On arrival at the Eastern Front in late summer 1941, Erwin was assigned to a frontline communications squad attached to 4.Kompanie and soon discovered that survival was a matter of luck - or the protection of a guardian angel. Good fortune finally deserted Erwin on 11 July 1943 when shrapnel sizzled through his lung during the epic Battle of Kursk-Prokhorovka. Following a period of recovery, and promotion to Unterscharfuhrer, Erwin took up a post as machine-gun instructor with the Ausbildung und Ersatz Bataillon, a training unit based close to the eastern section of the Berliner Ring Autobahn.
When the Red Army launched its massive assault on the Seelow Heights, Erwin's unit, now incorporated into Regiment Falke, was deployed to the southern flank of the Berlin-Frankfurt Autobahn, close to the River Oder. The German defences soon crumbled and with the end of the Reich inevitable, Erwin was forced to choose between a struggle for personal survival and the fulfilment of his SS oath of 'loyalty unto death' . From the war on the southern sector of the Eastern Front to a bomb-shattered Berlin populated largely by old men and demoralised lonely women, this candid eyewitness account offers a unique and sometimes surprising perspective on the life of a young Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler volunteer.
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(234mm x 156mm x mm)
Helion & Company
Publisher: Helion & Company
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Author Biography - Erwin Bartmann
Erwin Walter Bartmann, was born on 12 December 1923 in Schlochau, a town close to the then Polish border. Today the town, now called Czluchow, lies within Poland. Erwin was the youngest of four brothers two of whom died in infancy during a period of hyperinflation that brought great financial hardship to his family. In the hope of finding a better life, they moved to the Friedrichshain district of Berlin in 1927. / In 1941, Erwin enlisted voluntarily in the 1st Waffen SS Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler and fought on the Eastern Front until seriously wounded during the failed German assault on Prokhorovka. After a period of recuperation, he served as a machine-gun instructor stationed in Alt Hartmansdorf, a village to the east of Berlin, and saw action once more when the Russians crossed the River Oder in April 1945. / Erwin eventually fell into captivity several days after hostilities ended in May 1945 and spent time as a POW first in England, then in Scotland, until he was discharged from the Waffen SS in late December 1948. Unable to return in safety to his home in the Soviet controlled sector of Berlin, Erwin decided to remain in Edinburgh and took up a position as a baker, the trade he had learned after leaving school. He became a British citizen on 5 November 1955 and later married his Scottish sweetheart with whom he raised a son. / Erwin died on 14 September 2012, three months before his eighty-ninth birthday.