Boy Soldier

A German Teenager at the Nazi Twilight

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SKU: 9780786431113 Categories: , , , ,

About the Book

“As a 15-year-old boy I fought briefly in a war. My fight was neither noble nor heroic. I saw the horrors that no 15-year-old boy should ever see. I came into war purely by happenstance, and survived it purely by luck.”
Gerhardt B. Thamm grew up on his grandfather’s farm in Lower Silesia, the hinterlands of Germany. In early 1945 this land, near the Czechoslovakian and Polish borders, became a battleground. The Soviets captured Lower Silesia in February, and Thamm, like many of his Hitler Youth high school classmates, was conscripted to fight on the Eastern Front until the last few days of World War II, experiencing firsthand fearsome barbarity and atrocity. Thamm’s family was deported from Silesia in 1946 to West Germany. Gerhardt Thamm arrived in the United States in 1948. The 17-year-old Thamm joined the U.S. Army the same year and served more than 20 years as an enlisted man.
“Maybe, just maybe, I fought in this war to escape the barbarity. Maybe I wrote this book to still the memories.”

About the Author(s)

Gerhardt B. Thamm retired in 1987 after serving more than 38 years in intelligence and security-related operations. He has written for the Armed Forces Journal International, Periscope, Golden Sphinx, The Voice of Intelligence and Naval Proceedings. In 1994 the CIA specially honored Gerhardt for a report which was recently declassified and published in Naval Intelligence Professional Quarterly. He now lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Gerhardt B. Thamm
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 188
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, maps, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2007 [2000]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3111-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0232-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Prologue      5

PART ONE : THEWAY IT HAD BEEN      7

PART TWO : ON THE HOME FRONT      17

1. 1939      19

2. 1940      24

3. 1941      32

4. 1942      39

5. 1943      42

6. 1944      55

7. 1945      70

PART THREE : GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG (APOCALYPSE)      75

8. The Omen      77

9. Distant Thunder      82

10. Flight      87

11. Retreat into the Sudeten Mountains      96

PART FOUR : BOY SOLDIERS      103

12. Oh, to Be a Soldier      105

13. Sergeant “One-Eye”      107

14. Frontline Duty      111

15. The “Forgotten Front”      125

16. The Russian Boy      132

17. “Routine” Patrol      139

18. Ah, Natascha      143

19. To the Bitter End      151

Postscript: Strangers in Their Own Land      159

Notes      169

Index      175

Book Reviews & Awards

“[an] amazing memoir…offers a youthful perspective on the politics and propaganda of Nazi Germany”—C&RL News; “useful…puts a human face on the suffering brought by war”—The Book Report; “entertaining WWII memoir”—Stone & Stone Second World War Books; “gives a unique perspective of World War II”—The CNL Book Digest;“I took my time getting through Gerhardt Thamm’s “Boy Soldier, A German Teenager at the Nazi Twilight”, because I enjoy the way he uses words and very much enjoyed his descriptions of life in his home town before the war…intriguing”—Colonel Richard Latham, USAF Ret.; “A compelling personal account that is a valuable addition.”—William B. Webb, Brig. Gen, USAF Ret.