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
- People say the nicest things … June 28, 2016
Hitler’s Last Army – which came out in 2015 – now has seven five-star reviews on Amazon. My thanks to those who have made such kind and positive comments, and I’m delighted that they have found the book interesting.
I was especially grateful to reader J. Barry, who says:
Fully agree with all the glowing reviews, and note too the ex POW reviewers find that it does justice to their own experience. Like the others, I couldn’t put this down either.
It’s well written, interesting, informative, and heart-warming in equal measure since the author interweaves personal experience with the wider story of government policy. As a WW2 obsessive, I’m always on the lookout for books that give us a different angle, or about subjects not well covered previously. This fitted the bill perfectly. The author does not gloss over the less creditable aspects of the mens’ treatment in British hands but I bet many others had a smile on their face like I did by the time I finished it, because you like the people and their stories. I would recommend this even to those not especially interested in WW2, as a fascinating slice of Anglo-German social history of 70 years ago. Buy it.
When writing the book I had taken particular trouble to locate first-hand witness accounts from former prisoners. I carried out a number of face-to-face interviews and also used memoirs from the Imperial War Museum and other sources. My aim was to set these against the historical background of the time. It wasn’t always easy, but – if J. Barry’s review is anything to go by – it seems to have worked!
- German Prisoners of War in the United Kingdom June 27, 2016
For more info on German prisoners of war in the United Kingdom, see the Wikipedia article that I have contributed to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_prisoners_of_war_in_the_United_Kingdom
Much of the information appears in my book, Hitler’s Last Army, (though not necessarily in exactly the same format). Like all Wikipedia articles the above is subject to further editing and revision by contributors. In setting out the basics, I’ve provided a framework for future additions and amendments.
- Five-Star Rating June 25, 2015
Six readers have now given Five-Star Reviews on Amazon to Hitler’s Last Army ! My sincere thanks to you all – glad you enjoyed the book!
- Countdown to VE-Day May 8, 2015
In the diary he kept during his time as a soldier in the German army and as a prisoner of war in Britain, Eberhard Wendler wrote the following in the period up to and including VE-Day.
22 April 1945: We had a film show in the dining hall – a film about Friedrich Schiller*.[*NOTE: for the British authorities, finding suitable films to show to the German prisoners was a constant problem, as the German cinema industry had been controlled by the Nazi propaganda ministry for the duration of the war. Films with cultural themes – such as this one about the German poet, philosopher and playwright Friedrich Schiller were among the few which were considered appropriate – RQ].
24 April 1945: My birthday. At midnight I was woken by three comrades – Koch, Böhme and Kuse – and they congratulated me. They had prepared a beautiful display of flowers on a little table, together with the picture of my family home that I’d had painted [by another prisoner]. At 16.00 hours that day we returned to the camp and were individually searched, and taken out on to the sports ground. When we went back into our hut everything had been turned upside down [by the guards].
6 May 1945: (Sunday): we had a film show. In the afternoon we had to hand in our vests and underpants, gloves and one blanket. In return we were issued with two pairs of short underpants.
7 May 1945: the war was over. On 8 May and 9 May we didn’t have to work.[Eberhard’s account of the war ending is exceedingly brief. Perhaps it was difficult to express his thoughts in words at the time. Recently he told me: ‘When the war was over, we thanked God that it was finished and we were happy to be alive, but we wondered what was going to happen now. Germany had lost and they could do whatever they liked with us. And we thought they’d take it out on us.’]
TO BE CONTINUED …
- The Independent : ‘For them the war was over …’ May 1, 2015
Today The Independent printed my piece about German POWs in Britain at the time of VE-Day (on pages 41, 42 and 43). The feature includes some previously unseen snippets from Eberhard Wendler’s diary. I’ve added some of the more thought-provoking stories about how friendships between the prisoners and the British gradually began to flourish after the war.