About the book
The book draws on exclusive face-to-face interviews as well as on British and German official archives. It reveals how the POWs played a vital part in Britain’s post-war survival while, at the same time, their prolonged detention sparked political uproar. Its central theme though, is the human story of trust, friendship and even romance which developed between the POWs and the local population.
On 16 January, Paula D. gave 'Hitler’s Last Army' a five-star review on Amazon!
“… a very well written book retelling people’s experiences of being a German POW during and after WWII. The various stories are cleverly interwoven with background information taking one back to a different time which most of us have no knowledge or experience of. Highly recommended for anyone who just likes reading about other people’s lives and experiences. Couldn’t put it down until I’d finished it – very unusual for me."
Blog: Hitler’s Last Army
- A POW’s Diary – 70 Years On February 16, 2015
Eberhard Wendler was conscripted into the German army in January 1944, at the age of 17. His unit was in combat against American forces in Normandy shortly after D-day, and he was taken prisoner on 26 July. He finished up at High Garrett prisoner of war camp near Braintree, Essex, where he kept a journal about everyday life as a POW in Britain.
Now his diary entries are to be revealed here – many for the first time. They are a fascinating blend of the mundane and the extraordinary, as shown by these two consecutive entries from early 1945:
- 5th January: it snowed here for the first time. In this weather, with the ground frozen hard, we had to cut sugar beet. In the evening I bought [from the camp shop] two handkerchiefs for eight-pence.
- 6th January: at 2100 hours two V-2 rockets exploded near our camp with a terrifying din.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be posting more of Eberhard’s diary entries 70 years (to the day, in many cases) after they were written, leading up to the end of the war with Germany in May 1945.
- The Mike Read Show February 14, 2015
Yesterday I joined Mike Read on his BBC Radio Berkshire show to chat about Hitler’s Last Army.
We talked about prisoner of war camps in Berkshire, and I mentioned that German POWs were at one time housed in the former winter quarters of Bertram Mills’ Circus near the race course at Ascot. Accommodation for some prisoners was found in what had once been the elephant house!
Mike also asked about escapes: we’ve all seen movies such as The Great Escape which depicts the mass breakout of Allied POWs from a camp in Germany. On the whole, there were relatively few escape attempts by German prisoners. Luftwaffe pilot Franz von Werra – subject of another film, The One That Got Away – jumped from a moving train in Canada, made his way back to Germany, was decorated by Adolf Hitler himself, and flew again in combat. (It was a short-lived return to action, as his plane crashed into the sea soon afterwards, and his remains were never found). But as Hitler’s Last Army reveals, von Werra was not the only German to escape, or even the first …
- Sue Dougan : Radio Cambridgeshire January 28, 2015
Yesterday I joined Sue Dougan on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire at mid-day.
We talked in particular about how the German POWs were gradually accepted by most members of the British public. I’ve always felt that this says a great deal for the Germans themselves: they are generally remembered as reliable workers who were respectful towards British civilians. After five years of war, the Brits – understandably – had a bad opinion of Germany, and the prisoners had to make positive efforts to overturn that opinion.
The British, too, showed remarkable generosity and forgiveness. One former POW told me how he was invited into an Englishman’s house not long after the war had ended, and was warmly received. And the first thought to enter the prisoner’s mind was, “Why did we fight?”
- Amazon Review January 20, 2015
Delighted to see that a reader has given Hitler’s Last Army a five-star rating on Amazon, together with a nice review!
- Zero hour! January 5, 2015
For many of us this is our first day back at work after the Christmas and/or New Year break. Not necessarily an exciting prospect, fo some, no doubt. But I’ve been looking forward to it for some time as my first book, Hitler’s Last Army is released today.
The book focuses on the human story of the German prisoners of war who were held in Britain during and after WW2: I interviewed a number of former German soldiers and supplemented this evidence with material from the Imperial War Museum. http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections-research
As a backdrop to this eye-witness testimony, I’ve referred also to the military, political and economic decisions which impacted on the lives of the POWs.
I think you’ll find the personal testimony of these men both fascinating and at times very moving … but please do let me know what you think of the book, as I’d love to have your views, comments and suggestions!
The book is aimed at general readers – not just those with a specialised interest in the war. But I suspect that some will have have a particular motive to read about the POWs – either because they were themselves a prisoner, or because a relative was. I’d be glad to hear your story (or that of your ancestor) so please get in touch. If you have any questions about German POWs that aren’t covered in the book, I may be able to help, or at least point you in the direction of some useful sources of information. email@example.com