A Hitler Youth and his struggle to survive
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Germany 1944: Hermann Frech is not yet sixteen years old when he is conscripted for military duty – at an anti-aircraft battery. His duty is supposed to keep him in comparative safety near his home. However, as the Third Reich collapses around him, his duty orders take him far away. Forced to become a “child-soldier,” he huddles in the Reichstag in Berlin as the Soviet Red Army makes its final assault on the capital. Taken prisoner, his life is a daily struggle to find scraps of food to eat and avoid being killed.
Hermann Frech, is sitting in his German classroom. It is December 1943 and the last day of school before Christmas vacation. Dr. Petri, the head schoolmaster, enters the classroom of grade 8b. There is total silence. There has to be a reason when the “King” comes by personally. “I have to tell you”, he begins with a slight nasal voice, “that after your Christmas
Vacation, you will not be returning to school since you are going to be called up to serve at the homeland anti-aircraft installation in Ludwigshafen. I hope that you will fulfil your duty and bring honor to the school during this difficult time.”