The Education and Reeducation of POW 31G-23742357
An Autobiographical Narrative
AUTHOR: Schmidt, Wolfgang D.
PUBLISHER: Xlibris Corporation
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"The Education and Reeducation of POW 31G-23742357", an autobiographical narrative, should actually be a first person story but was written as a third person tall tale to the best of this first person's waning but still rather vivid memories. Nothing in it should be taken as earnest and truthful as a hollywoodian docudrama because much of it is composed from a German point of view and no German writer after Goethe is a trustworthy reporter of the German soul, or psyche, or stool, and their wars and history.
Late in April 1945 Wolfgang, the storyteller, became simply a piece of disarmed enemy forces. No German soldiers taken after March 45 became legally Prisoners of War and treated as such, but were Disarmed Enemy Forces to whom the International Red Cross had no access and who were treated accordingly. Becoming a POW with the above mentioned number in late September 45 was his insurance for not winding up in one of the post WWII underworld camps of the Eisenhower-de Gaulle design in which hundreds of thousands erstwhile German soldiers perished, not the heavies of Nazidom but ordinary yokels from teenagers to aged Volkssturm invalids who - in GI language - wouldn't know the difference between shit and Shinola.
Nevertheless, all along his existence as a prisoner Wolfgang did in fact luck out. The foundation of this lucking out was certainly his High School English, plus having taught himself the technique of expressing himself in that fabulous Basic English plus a few dozens technical English terms like carburetor and switch board, and for comparing Schiller's romantic drama "Die Jungfrau von Orleans" with George Bernhard Shaw's so much more realistic "Joan d'Ark", in English for that matter, because GBS fascinated him and was one of the most performed playwrights of the German stage, even during the Nazi era.
Wolfgang close contacts with Americans had its beginning when he surrendered - in a way negotiated the surrender - of the 1st Elephanten - Flak - Batterie to an armed patrol of the 99th US Infantry Division from Pennsylvania, somewhere north of Tyrolean Kufstein in the Bavarian Alps. This surrender procedure was almost comical and may appear impossible in the context of this gruesome war, but the truth of the story may be checked out with the war diary of the Checker Board Division which may contain a thousand words describing the whole scene.
A few weeks later Wolfgang was transferred north to the Red One' Infantry Division in which, many years later, two of his American born would serve. Wolfgang lucked out being the straw boss and interpreter of the prisoner work detail assigned to the kitchen and mess of headquarters company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Regiment. and within a couple of days enjoyed, apart from his work, being the answer man of many GIs who could not explain that shrill difference between the training propaganda films to which they had been exposed and the Germany which they now experienced , the masses of refugees (ethnic Germans from Bohemia), the DPs with many Jews among them, and the various types of camps ranging from those of absolute horror to labor camps in reasonable order, such as the one in which Wolfgang and his buddies and other work details were quartered. These were good days and according to rumors the prisoners would be discharged rather soon but then were free to continue to work their jobs as hired indigenous personnel, living in the camp without being imprisoned. It all sounded very good.
Then General Eisenhower bounced Patton, who had earlier declared that no prisoners of war taken by his Third Army would be surrendered to camps of starvation and annihilation in France, thus putting a dirty stain on the American flag. He would rather resign from the Army than participate in this utmost crime which contradicts the ideals and objectives for which he had fought this war. After being bounced but still around, General Ge
PUBLICATION DATE: 3/1/2001