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My War Diary by Otto Renger - FSJ Sturm Reg. 4. FSJ Div.

Discussion in 'Biographies and Everything Else' started by Stevin, Nov 18, 2002.

  1. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Gents,

    Last week I got Otto Renger's MY WAR DIARY. This is a self published book (only 50 copies are printed) about Otto's experiences as a WW2 paratrooper. He wrote his story in German, shortly after the war and recently translated it into English and published it.

    Otto was in the first group of 'volunteer draftees'into the FSJ. Had his training in France (jump school in Bar Le Duc) and was wisked off to the Italian front before he even got to do his 7 jumps which would earn him his FSJ badge. He describes the war in Italy from the perspective of a 17 year old draftee. It is a story, as can be expected, not about the major decisions (-makers) in the war but about the consequenses that were felt by the fighting man. You live with Otto through the daily and not so daily routine of the frontline and behind.

    Otto was taken POW at war's end by a Polish tank unit and New Zealnd Maori warriors. He them goe sto describe his three years as a POW in Italy and Egypt, which is just as interesting to read as his wartime career.

    When he finally gets repartiated he finds his parents being chased out their native Sudetenland, and they have taken up home in Russian controlled Germany. It is here that Otto comes to live too.

    Although not described in the book, Otto later escaped East Germany and moved to Australia in 1965.

    I bought this book for €28,50, airmailed from Australia. And I am very gla dto have read this. This exactly the kind of personal memories that I collect and love to read. The war from the perspective of the men who fought it.

    You can get the book from Otto himself...
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Stevin,

    Wow!Sounds great. Do you think there´s some battle scene´s that might be worth telling here on the forum for us all? If so, please tell us!

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Hi Kai,

    Battle scene's. His description of the frontlines are graphic but are not full of combat. He concentrates more on the daily live and the things that happened day to day. It gives a good idea about the hurry up and wait aspect of war.

    and ahh...for copyright reasons I can not post excerpts of his book here, unless I ask his permission. I told him about this site though...He might be reading along! :D
     
  4. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Stevin :

    Can you give us a taste of where Otto fought in Italy please ? month and date possibly ?

    E
     
  5. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Lemme see,

    They were wjisked away from Bar-le-duc on Jan.22, 1944. He had his first combat experience near Nettuno, near the Anzio beachhead, easter 1944. Cisterna, Velletri, May 1944. Then he did a stint as an ambulance driver for a couple of months when he was wounded in the Vologna-Florence Region. Back in combat on 13 august, 1944 at Marsala. On the line near Florence, which was an open city. He had a run in with an Italian partisan there.

    In december went to engineer school in North Italy. Back in January and near Imola. Finally taken POW at Medicina on April 6, 1945, just east of Bologna.

    Again, don't expect this to be a vivid description of combat (although Otto does describe it), like Kurt Meyer's for example. This is more of an personal account of an 17 year old 'volunteer draftee' into the FSJ and the feelings and emotions of a 17 years old, taken away from his familiar surroundings to partcipate in a war.

    I thought it was a great read. I love these personal accounts.
     
  6. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Stevin :

    Any photos included in Otto's book ?

    thnkx

    E
     
  7. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Well, yes, some...two or three of Otto during his POW time. One with his mom and dad when he got back. Then some maps and pics that he took from some Italian sites when he visited again in 199?. Some of Futa Pass German cemetery. Then some pics that illustrate his story. Among them part of the two FSJ guys that stand before that big cross...the pic that Kai recently posted here. I don't think any pics that aren't known.
     
  8. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Rats ! well I can only wonder if his logbook-pics were taken when he was captured... ? Happened to so many German servicemen. Luckily with some RK members they had a better chance to send pics directly home during the war as well as pose for numerous propaganda shots.

    E
     
  9. charlie don't surf

    charlie don't surf Member

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    It's always interesting to hear about those self published books, I imagine that there is a lot of that kind of material around. Personally I don't have any such material, how about you?

    regards
     
  10. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    CDS :

    Yes I have a couple and I can tell you all of them have been cheaply done. Graphics and pic were terribly scanned. documents almost unreadable. Text hard to see since the 4 books I have the print is terribly small. Some authors can cut deals with known artist and photgraphers which is great, but it is not the usaul norm. Also for the amount of time and energy put in a book the author would like to have someone else take care of sales, hopefully getting a return profit within a years time. I would surely hate to try and sell a 2 volume specified air history to the public and I can imagine I would only be successful with about 50 copies......

    E
     
  11. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Otto Still has his soldbuch! There is a copy (not a very good one. The pics might fall into thecategory Erich describes above)) of it in his book. He got it back(!) because his British interrogator when he became POW was from the same town as he was!!!!! Also some hardly eligeble pages of his German diary that he wrote just after the war.

    On self published material; I got, I think, over 20 of these books, from all over the world; German, US, Canadian, Belgian, Dutch, British. Mainly US and German though. The quality ranges from having the story typed and printed out on a matrix printer and the author having made his own cover to proffesionally printed books. I am working on a website on these kind of publications. Thse are very interesting books, even though they might lack the quality of professionally published books; It shows the effort that went into producing it and the vet who wanted to get his story out. Also, usually the text has not been edited for 'popular readin', which gives for interesting reading. Some are born writers, others struggle at it, but I have never found one of them dull or unreadble. Erich is right about the pics, usually the quality is not too good, but recently I got a few books that were really good quality wise. Printing technics become beter and more widely available (i.e. cheaper) and it shows. My first few books were more manuscripts with a cover. Products of home labour of the vets. Nowadays you see a lot of very decent productions.

    If anybody know of any of these books or know where they might be available, let me know! I am ALWAYS on the look out for these! [​IMG]

    [ 20. November 2002, 12:56 AM: Message edited by: Stevin Oudshoorn ]
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Now that would be "funny", a veteran looking how the "boys" are doing... :eek:

    Anyway, after seeing a couple of diaries for the Finnish Waffen-SS men must admit that not all were poets, but just to think of the circumstances under which these statements or short notes were made...That gives me the shivers down the spine. AS well I love the stories connected with the medals the guys received, it gives them life without which they don´t seem so grand to me. This is my personal view but I think even the Knight´s Cross would miss a big part if you didn´t know the story how the original owner got it.
     
  13. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Kai, Are those diaries (self-) published? Is there a lot published in Finland on this subject anyway?
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Actually no Stevin, they are still in the original form ( in a safe place )by a friend of mine. None published. Some of the writers died in Russia but the diaries were returned with the other belongings to their families.
    I hope to get some copies for myself next time I visit him.
     
  15. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    That small book on night fighter bordfünker Hans Georg Schierholz fits along these lines. although written by some other author it will be small format and the pics docs come from Familie Schierholz, so this will be a nice little personal account. As Stevin worked out with me another little selfpublished work is the book by US pilot Dick Hewitt of the 78th fighter group. Target of Opportunity. 171 pages, many small pics that are scanned in so-so, but the love that went into this private collection cannot be denied. This is probably the reason I would secure copies and that being the text coming from someone who was there and being very close and personal. No "buttery" words to capture the audience, just the plain truth with no fillers. Reminds me of our forum member Brian (Sapper) and his written stories being shared before us. You read his work and you are their with him "diggin in" ! We are so fortunate guys to be able to have someone like him to share with us all. I would hope as Carl has mentioned several times over the past two years, that his friends in the U-boot arm would come forth and share with us on a personal note. So the invitation is open you guys >>>..... if you are by chance reading this thread.

    E
     
  16. charlie don't surf

    charlie don't surf Member

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    I forgot to mention that I found this great site. It's a dutch who publish his own books about the Stalingrad battle, he has written several veteran stories. I think most of it is in german but it might be wortwhile to drop him an email to find out more. This is absolutely worth to check out. I hope this is new information for you all. [​IMG]

    Stalingrad

    best regards

    [ 20. November 2002, 06:28 PM: Message edited by: charlie don't surf ]
     
  17. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Hi Charlie,

    Thanks for that. Hans Wijers's site is known by me. He has a similar site about the Ardennes offensive. Also with his books. http://home.wxs.nl/~wijers/Bulge.html

    [ 22. November 2002, 05:43 PM: Message edited by: Stevin Oudshoorn ]
     
  18. charlie don't surf

    charlie don't surf Member

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    I've established contact with him and he seems nice. I'd be happy to hear more about the critiscism 'tough.

    best regards
     
  19. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Charlie, I have been looking but can't find it. It was some thread on some forum. As I can't find it, I retrack my earlier assumption.

    Seems that the vets are happy with him...

    [ 22. November 2002, 05:47 PM: Message edited by: Stevin Oudshoorn ]
     
  20. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Hans seems to be a pretty neat guy. I've mailed him a couple of times and have two books written by him on numbered Sturgeschütze Abteilungs/Batteries ........ my computer is blitzing again !
    Rats....

    E
     

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