Comments: 156 • Responses: 19  • Date: 

Caputo33 karma

On a personal level, what did he feel he was fighting for?

Also, thanks for making this.

thegreyeyedwolf4 karma

First off, sorry for the late replies. My grandfather and I are seperated by some kilometers which makes it unfortunately harder to reach him.

Now let's get it going.

'I felt that I was fighting for nothing' 'I never wanted to fight, I was forced to.' 'I never believed that the war could have been won, but If I didn't fought back then... I wouldn't be here. They would have probably shot me.'

The_Papal_Pilot21 karma

At what point did he as a German soldier realize the war was lost?

thegreyeyedwolf3 karma

'I never thought that the war could be won, not by any chance.' 'But when I heard that the americans would interfere, I just knew that it was over.' 'I knew that they had possibilties to win every war especially because they had advanced weapons & technology back then. It was obvious that we as simple soldiers would not stand any chance against them.'

thanniga20 karma

Of all of the advances he has seen in his 91 years, which does he think was he most amazing and why?

thegreyeyedwolf4 karma

'For me it's the advancement in technology, especially communication.' 'You would just laugh If you knew how I used to call someone back then' 'I had to talk through a cone-thingy which was fixed at a wall which made it rather awkward to talk to someone.'

Kapitalist_Pigdog20 karma

A lot of people fail to make the distinction between the Wehrmacht and the SS, how did the soldiers in the Wehrmacht view the SS during the war? Were they ever made aware of the operations of the group?

thegreyeyedwolf3 karma

'The SS used to be the "Saalschutz"' 'They were protecting the high-tier members of the NSDAP. They had to make sure that special occasions were safe and that there would be no sign of harm for them. Especially for Hitler. If somebody could be a possible harm for these high-tier members they had to eliminate that danger instantly.' 'A bit later the SS transformed to a special kind of cadre, which were sworn & educated on a high-strictly basis. They had to do alot of tremendous things.' 'There were indeed the SA, the "Straßenabteilung" which was abit more loose.' 'They were destined to keep the streets clear and to strike upcoming revolts fast.' 'The SS were dressed black, the SA brown.' 'The soldiers of the Wehrmacht, myself included feared the SS.' 'I can remember that there were always tensions between us, we feared and detested them while they thought about us as a loose arrangement of useless soldiers.'

MyDadIsYourDad18 karma

Goddamn he looks good for 91. How does he keep his looks? And how does he feel about the advancement of technology from 1925 to 2016?

thegreyeyedwolf4 karma

'Thank you.' he laughs 'So, I do sleep alot. And I've been doing a nap on the daytime ever since I turned 60. I think that it helps me in order to feel better. Also, I always reminded myself on living reasonable. I don't overact on anything. I don't drink alot, never did. And I don't smoke.' 'What was the second question?' I repeated it 'Yeah, the advancement of the technology. For me its scary. If I look back on my life, I just can't understand how everything changed.' 'I do think, that there are literally just a few downsides to it. Everything, especially communication has become so easy.'

TheRealRomanBlack14 karma

Did he at the time harbor Nazi views? If so, what are his opinions now?

thegreyeyedwolf3 karma

'No I didn't.' 'But I see that it's so easy to trivialize and generalize. Even now.' 'I think that's actually the only reason why millions of people lost their lives while fighting people that they never got to know.'

murtnowski10 karma

Where was he during the battle in Berlin? What has his reaction upon hearing Berlin had been captured and Hitler was dead? How did his fellow soldiers react? Did he ever use a Sturmgewehr 44 and how much of an improvement was it over other rifles?

thegreyeyedwolf4 karma

'Back then, I was captured by the russian forces and was forced to work in their camps.' 'However, we could escape one day and tried to return to germany.' 'I do remember that when we came back, german soldiers formed a kind of circle around Berlin because they just didn't want to give it up.' 'As I knew that the war was lost and staying would just be suicide, we moved towards brandenburg'

burgeremoji9 karma

91 years of age is a very long time indeed! What have been the happiest times of his life so far?

I understand that most young men during the world wars were enlisted in every country if they were able to serve, hence I wouldn't blame your grandfather for being on the side he was. I am certainly glad it isn't mandatory enlistment anymore (in the UK at least). As your grandfather served on what was the enemy to many of us, assuming not by choice, what is his opinion of those who choose to join those such as ISIS today?

thegreyeyedwolf4 karma

While reading your question, he nod and smiled 'These people are mostly sick.' 'There are alot of people who are sick and who are sent to a doctor afterwards.' 'But there are even more people who are mentally-sick.' 'It could even be my neighbour, and I just wouldn't know it.' 'And these people are so vulnerable to manipulation.' 'These people are sick, quite badly sick.'

thegreyeyedwolf8 karma

I'm utterly moved by all the interest you guys showed so far. You really made my day rn. Keep the questions coming! I'll visit him in the next days (probably 09/13/16), tell him everything and we'll make sure to answer alot of questions! I'll also post some pictures of his time serving & youth.

DomesticatedVagabond2 karma

I would most certainly appreciate some more detail about his service seeing as he would have not been old enough to do RAD and serve with the Wehrmacht until 1943. It's my understanding that the age you were eligible to do RAD and serve was 18.

So, I'm assuming, either he lied about his age in order to join, readily volunteered to join ahead of his age, was recruited into the Volkssturm, or was part of a Hitler Youth/SS Youth Division. As such, I'm not really sure how he was forced into the Wehrmacht and that's not something I've often heard. Also, you claimed he had three brothers in one of your other posts and changed it to two. It all just feels a little inconsistent, I'd be glad to be proved wrong though.

thegreyeyedwolf2 karma

Unfortunately I have to disappoint you. He has never served for the Youth Division neither for the hitler youth. He served from 1940/41 to 1945. He said that the germans recruited alot of young adults and even pensioners. Probably because the heads of Germany got nervous because they already feared defeat. He even states that they recruited nordish / finnish people at that time, because they had alot of losses in terms of soldiers which had to be replaced asap. He was recruited when he was 15 years old. Neither did he volunteer, he didn't want to go to war! He also stated that he even saw 14 year old kids fighting for germany at this time. The thing regarding the three brothers was indeed my mistake, because sometimes things get lost in translation. If you have more questions, just ask. :)

LayinScunion1 karma

Nobody was ever "forced" to serve. Drafted possibly but not "forced". If it was something he truly didn't want to do, he could have left the country. The war was already ongoing so it's not as if it was some huge surprise to be drafted when he became of age.

Smells like Hitler Youth and highly questionable years he doesn't want to talk about.

thegreyeyedwolf2 karma

'It was impossible to leave the country at that time.' 'Indeed a lot of people were forced to serve. Everyone that was physically fit was forced to.' 'Even history books are filled with that kind of information.' 'I had no option, either I fought or they would have been likely to shoot me right there'

Edit: Regarding the closing months of WW2 - Search "Volkssturm". And you'll find plenty of information on that topic. There is indeed also some evidence that alot of soldiers were not only drafted but "forced" to fight.

LayinScunion0 karma

There is indeed also some evidence that alot of soldiers were not only drafted but "forced" to fight.

I'd love to see it. Because I have numerous accounts of otherwise.

thegreyeyedwolf2 karma

I would love if you could share your evidence with me. For me my biggest evidence is indeed my grandfather, I dont think that he would lie to me about that. I'm a hundred percent sure. Maybe it was not a thing that was ordinary for the military to do. And maybe it was not a direct threat, rather a hidden one. Like "If you don't join the military, bad things could happen to you" For me the NSDAP and all its top-tier-members proved enough to be capable of recruting underage soldiers, all alone with the initiative "Volkssturm". If they would do it 4 years after, is it so unlikely that they would do the same to a fifteen turning- sixteen y/o teenager?

the_real_grinningdog7 karma

Today my Dad would have been diagnosed with PTSD but that wasn't an option then. He was a POW for 3.5 years and saw action in North Africa and Greece.

How did your grandfather cope after the war? Did he find it hard to adjust to life?

thegreyeyedwolf4 karma

'I'm sorry to hear about your dad, may god bless him' 'It was hard to adjust to life, It was hard to come back to the ruins of my house. Everything was destroyed. Luckily, my parents survived and my little brother which my parents kept hidden in our basement was healthy. I just knew that I was blessed.' But when I saw that the 'Dom' the emblem of my city (he is talking about our city cologne) was not bombed while everything just turned to ashes, I instantly felt happy.' 'It could only get better from now'

suaveitguy7 karma

Do you remember when the great UFA films of the 20s and 30s started to get replaced with propaganda films? What did you think of the new propaganda films at the time?

thegreyeyedwolf3 karma

'I can't recall that suddenly all of the UFA films were replaced but I, indeed, saw some of the propaganda films.' 'These were orders from the top 1% of the top 1% of the Nazi-Regime.' 'Suddenly, there were thousands of people cheering for Hitler like he was some kind of a god. These people were so manupilated by his speeches and his rhetorics.' 'They even wanted me to play a role in one of their war-movies but I declined.' 'It does remind me of Erdoğan today'

ReindeerHoof6 karma

How would you feel if he met someone from the Axis military? What about a soldier from the Ally military? Would conversations be any different?

Why did you decide to open up a barbershop? What did the nastiest customer and/or the nicest customer you recall do?

Also, what's the most complex Rube Goldberg machine you can think of that will successfully make a chicken cartwheel?

thegreyeyedwolf3 karma

1.'I would try to have a friendly conversation with him, for sure. I would try to explain him my point of view, especially because I was forced to fight' 2. 'Well, my father used to be a barber and he even had a shop. Let's say that he nicely steered me towards that direction.' 'The nicest customer was someone who was paralyzed and was brought to me to get a shave once a week, so he could feel better.' 'The nastiest customer. That's hard to answer. The worst experience I had was that I used to shave corpses, so that they looked acceptable before they were moved back to their funeral. Mostly back to the United States.' 3. he didn't understand that question sorry

DarkPasta5 karma

Did Wehrmacht soldiers know about the concentration camps?

thegreyeyedwolf3 karma

'Yes we knew, but just really late.' 'But we absolutely had no clue about how many of them existed back then.' 'When we heard about the liberation of the other camps, mostly through the russians & americans and the fact that there were really people which were severly injured but survived - I've never been happier in my entire life.'

Dittybopper5 karma

During WWII what units and fronts did he serve in? Tell him thank you for doing this AMA.

thegreyeyedwolf2 karma

'I was grouped in the Heer.' 'I was a simple foot-soldier.'

He nods and smiles 'I'm doing this with the intend that people can learn and that it might change their lives, even if its just a bit.

rickyrockslide4 karma

What is your happiest memory from the war?

thegreyeyedwolf3 karma

'When the war was about to be lost and even the top-tier nazi-regime members couldn't deny it, some friends of mine and me moved towards brandenburg. We stumbled upon Görings private mansion "carinhall" & discovered that it was only guarded by "we called them tie-soldiers," since in our eyes they were no soldiers but just armed office-people. That house was huge, it was like 300 meters long. At this particular time we didn't eat for at least two straight days. We just fantasized about what we would find in there. Maybe riches or even food? We threatend them, If they wouldnt surrender - we would shoot them. Finally, they put their weapons down and we entered the building. When we arrived downstairs, we discovered that Göring had alot of cold-storage rooms. We discovered that he was keeping alot of international, delicious food that I didn't knew until that day. God, we were so happy. Additionaly, there was a room with rewards. We found the "german cross" in pure gold. It's known to be the most valuable reward in germany. It was huge... And I, luckily, took 3 of them with me. Soon after that, the russians came after us. We escaped them but the americans finally captured us. We were transferred to a camp where alot of war-prisoners were forced to work. We were so hungry. I, unfortunately, had to sell all three of the german-crosses each for one bread.'

some_lie3 karma

So.. You thought that reminiscing about the genocide he was involved in would cheer your grandfather up??

thegreyeyedwolf1 karma

I could easily answer your hateful ignorant comment with another one. but I will not. Check my answers and then think again about accusing people that you have no information about