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It is not possible to fully understand the history of the Second World War without refering to the forces of the Axis. This new section is under development, we would like to hear from anyone who was involved with the Axis forces. We are looking for information on personnel and photographs rather than the politics of the war.
The Wartime Memories Project is purely a historical resource and the information contacted in this section is for historical educational. We are a Non Political organisation and do not support the ideas of The Third Riech, we simply present the facts.
(d.3rd Nov 1944)In 1944 (when I was in diapers) four of my uncles were dodging German bullets in Europe. One had already died in Italy. My dad (Ralph Roscoe Brandt) was working in the food industry, he was declared vital to the operation and was deferred. That deferral carried a freeze in pay at 1941 level. Part of his job involved picking up a truck load of prisoners each day at Camp Michaux near Gardners PA. These prisoners worked at the plant my dad did, Adams Apple at Aspers PA.
During this time there was a traumatic event for him. A German soldier that he said was not an "SS" died at the plant. It was ruled a suicide but I know there was one person who was sure it was not, my dad. He had just lost a brother, Nesber Gilton Brandt, in this war and had little for anything German but this one man somehow impressed him so that I don't think he ever saw him as a German soldier. He saw him as a husband and father who worked hard during work hours and during lunches went off to himself, ate and looked at pictures of his family. I believe my dad saw him as a representative of the brother he lost in Italy, a farmer and mechanic who somehow wound up on a battlefield. My dad never believed the man took his own life. He felt the "SS" men killed him because he seemed to be cooperating too much.
Last week my two older sisters and I spent an evening together working on genealogy. My one sister mentioned that a man had spoken at a meeting about the camp. I mentioned that I wondered who that German soldier was. I never expected an answer.
About an hour ago I talked to my sister. She checked with the man who gave the speech. He came back with an answer. He believes the man was a Private in the German Army named Georg Hartig, 38 years old, died Nov 3 1944. There is a story about it in the Aspers PA. Gettysburg Compiler. The story says he was hanged which agrees with the account my dad gave. The man (I will get his name) made an interesting comment to my sister. He observed that it would have been difficult for the man to hang himself with his hands tied behind his back. (How did his hands get tied I wondered.)
So this man in reading the story came to the same conclusion my dad did and the one the authorities ignored. I now ask a couple of questions. Is there any of this man's family alive? Has anyone ever told them how he died over 60 years ago? Let's face it, they could have all been killed in bombings. But I don't know that. I don't even have any idea what part of Germany he was from.
There is something about this that feels like unfinished business, something my dad maybe should have done but probably lacked even the place to start.
Copyright 2005 Ralph Brandt not to be used without permission.
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