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How would you feel if you met a German WWII vet?

Discussion in 'Honor, Service and Valor' started by bobsmith76, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. bobsmith76

    bobsmith76 New Member

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    If you are a WWII vet and you met a German WWII vet how would you feel about him? Would you respect him and treat him like a human being or harbor a grudge or something else? If you're not a WWII vet then try to imagine how you would feel. It would also be great if this has actually happened to you and you could talk about what went on. I read some where though I'm not sure to what extent it is true that in WWI the infantry felt more in common with the enemy infantry than their commanding officers but I don't think this was true in WWII because trench life has a way of making you resent your officer (I imagine) since they're basically just sending you to your death if you're given the order to cross no man's land.
     
  2. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    All soldiers deserve respect. I would assume he did his duty and was an honorable man.
     
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  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    How do you know you havent already? I have met any number of Germans over the years...some may have fought, most were civilians during the war...we had a Janitor that still respected Hitler...
     
  4. O.M.A.

    O.M.A. Active Member

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    I'd shoot the nazi bastard.

    Seriously though, Unless I was privy to some specific act, I'd treat him as I would any veteran serving their country.
     
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  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I've met and talked with several over the years. Good men all.
     
  6. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    In my experience age tends to alter perspective. I've been fortunate enough to meet veterans from Britain and Germany ; in the 1950s/60s attitudes were quite unforgiving. But as these men moved into old age their attitudes have mellowed and matured in most cases.
     
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  7. bobsmith76

    bobsmith76 New Member

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    What did you talk about with the Germans?
     
  8. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I have met many veterans. I have interviewed several and many have been very helpful. Many of them go to Commemorations where they meet other Vets, regarless nationality. They are mostly friends now .
    One famous example are Börner and Gauthier who fought each other on D-Day and were together at the 70th anniversary . Their story is mentionned in a book in Fance where they both live, called "Freres ennemis" ("enemy brothers")




    [​IMG]
     
  9. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    The trick is to let them do the talking. Mainly it's their personal experiences, vivid memories of sometimes trivial incidents, etc.

    As an aside, the most vivid, articulate and entertaining veterans I've ever spoken to were those from the US 8th Air Force........
     
  10. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I appreciate that for some Allied servicemen the Germans and to an even greater extent the Japanese cannot be forgiven for the acts of aggression undertaken in the name opf their country. However, It is 2014 and a lot of water has passed under the bridge. .

    If you visited Germany or had anything to do with Germans in the last fifty years you will have met German WW2 Veterans. Some may have been soldiers, some not. Germany has been a member of NATO for over sixty years, over half a life time.
     
  11. sapper

    sapper British Normandy Veteran, Royal Engineers

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    As a veteran, I would find it very difficult indeed.The reason is that I have seen what they did, and find it almost impossible to come to terms with. NO better reason than Orador sur glan where they killed all the men, burned the town down. Then locked the women and children in the church and burned them alive.
    So has anyone any suggestions on how us Veterans deal with that in meeting a former enemy... Any suggestions? Time, is the only answer, when we who have memories are no longer here....
     
  12. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    And indeed we must respect that. We weren't there.

    Years ago I went on one of those Holts battlefield tours where we stopped at the huge German war cemetery in Holland. The guide told us that the previous year they had a 30 Corps veteran on the tour. Seeing the man gazing out across the burial ground, the guide said to him : -

    'That's a lot of graves '

    'Not enough....' said the veteran, and turned away.
     
  13. O.M.A.

    O.M.A. Active Member

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    Interesting takes from you both sapper and Martin. I give credit to those who fought on either side, but I guess that's because I wasn't there and that one side wasn't trying to kill me.
     
  14. bobsmith76

    bobsmith76 New Member

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    See, I think it would be a rather awkward experience being a German at the D-Day commemoration. But then again I don't think any Germans show up for the Russian commemorations seeing as those two countries hated each other far more than the French and the Germans.
     
  15. 4jonboy

    4jonboy New Member

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    When I went to Italy in May this year for the 70th Anniversary of the Italian Campaign I met three German Fallschirmjager Veterans who fought at Cassino, as did my late father. They were staying in the same hotel as our group, which included three British Veterans.

    All I can say is that they were very polite and spoke impeccable English, and I had a few conversations with them over coffee after dinner. They did tell me that they had great respect for the men they fought against at Cassino.

    Obviously I cannot speak for the Veterans who fought in WW2, but for me as a daughter of one of the men who fought against the Germans, they were doing the job they had to do just like any other men.

    Lesley
     
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  16. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran Patron  

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    There was a similar thread on ww2talk and I made my views known.

    When I can find the correct link I will post it here.

    Ron
     
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  17. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    My dad never had any hard feelings against German soldiers. He spoke of them with respect. He was a company runner and often tasked with bringing prisoners back to the battalion and I suppose that kind of contact humanizes your enemy.
    He was Stavelot where a lot of civilians were massacred but he never spoke of that. Other 30th Division soldiers who were there clearly separated the Waffen SS from the Wehrmacht and he must have felt the same way.
     
  18. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    This past September in Limburg. Seated left and right of the table are two German soldiers. In the center, seated, is Marion Sanford.

    View attachment 21520

    I spoke with both men, although the one on the left spoke poor English and the translator had stepped away. The man on the right, Manfred, and I talked at length. He had his soldbuch with him, which he showed to me. He was drafted at age 17 and initially served with an AA battery. During the Autumn of 1944, he was transferred to a Luftwaffe infantry unit where he stated that he surrendered the first opportunity he had.
     

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  19. Owen

    Owen O

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  20. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran Patron  

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    Owen

    Nice meeting you here ;)

    Could you please supply me with the link to Gerry & Wolfgang when Gerry first wrote about his meeting on ww2talk ?

    Ron
     

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