October 14th, 1943

 

Journal,

 

Our time in Königsberg was short and we spent most of it loading mines onto ships which were patrolling the Baltic Sea. Now I am back in Hamburg, continuing my naval training. Because I have a background in mechanics, my training will only take about six months, or half of the normal length of time. I am with the under seas division, anticipating an assignment on a U-boat. There are many types of boats, some larger than others. There is even a small U-boat with an electric motor which launches from a bigger ship and searches out the biggest enemy ship it can find. While it sounds exciting, I will not volunteer for these small U-boats. It is almost as dangerous as going into Russia and I’m sure I wouldn’t survive. I have leaned how to dive however. There are about twelve men in my training group. We wear only the simplest of clothing and a “lung” which contains oxygen and allows us to breathe underwater. We can go down about 70 meters into the water. I hope this is a skill I won’t ever have to use.

 

Henry

 

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Published in: on April 22, 2006 at 4:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

March 30th, 1943

Journal,

 

I think I may have narrowly escaped death. A few weeks ago, I received word that I was to join the anti-tank division of the German regular army. I am an adult now and no longer part of the German youth army. I returned to Berlin to begin my training as part of this anti-tank division. I knew that I would be sent to Russia and I feared I would not survive the war. However, only this morning, a recruiter for the Navy arrived at our base. He needs men to join the Navy who are engineers and mechanics. They have enough barbers and salesmen, now they need men with technological training. Thank God for my background. I volunteered at once and have been spared a future in Russia. A few of my friends volunteered for service as well. We leave in the morning for Königsberg, a city in Prussia near the Russian border. At least it is not in Russia itself.

 

Henry

Published in: on April 22, 2006 at 4:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

February 19th, 1943

Journal,

 

I have finally arrived back in Dabrowä. My return home was delayed by an injury I received while in Berlin. A few weeks ago, the soft light of morning also brought with it more airplanes and bombs. Living in Berlin, I have learned to distinguish between the types of bombs which are dropped on the city. This is a skill every man, woman and child has been forced to learn. There are bombs that whistle as they fall from the sky. This is what we call a “regular” bomb – it hits the earth and sends shrapnel flying in all directions. It is best to be relatively close to where this bomb hits. The pieces of earth and metal will hopefully fly over your head instead of hitting you. Once you hear the sound of the bomb, you must move quickly for cover. The second type of bomb is silent and therefore much more dangerous. This bomb is filled with chemicals that burn the skin and cannot be rinsed away with water. Luckily, I was injured by the exploding shrapnel of a regular bomb. A piece of metal cut my neck and the doctor tells me I will always have a scar, if I survive this war. Yes, it is good to be home in Dabrowä and away from Berlin.

 

Henry

Published in: on April 22, 2006 at 4:14 pm  Comments (6)  

January 13th, 1943

Journal,

 

My duties as truck driver have just ended. It has been a little over a year since I first arrived in Berlin and I am anxious to leave. I will be able to return home for a few months to see my family. I miss them and I look forward to seeing them again.

 

Henry

Published in: on April 22, 2006 at 4:13 pm  Leave a Comment