The Wolves of World War II

An East Prussian Soldier’s Memoir of Combat and Captivity on the Eastern Front


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SKU: 9780786429714 Categories: , , , ,

About the Book

On September 25, 1944, Hitler attempted to shore up his faltering forces by creating the Volkssturm or People’s Army. His new draft called into service all remaining able-bodied men, including those whose civilian labor had previously been deemed indispensable. Among the latter was an East Prussian farmer named Hans Thiel, who suddenly found himself on the Eastern front, fighting not to bring glory to the Nazi Party (for which he felt at best a troubled resignation) but to save his country from destruction. With the defeat of the Germans, Thiel was taken prisoner by the advancing Soviet forces.
From the closing days of World War II through three years of postwar captivity, this memoir details the experiences of Hans Thiel. Beginning with the realities of agrarian life during World War II, it then describes Thiel’s conscription, his combat experiences, and his life as a postwar prisoner, held first by the Red Army and then transferred to camps under Polish control. The atrocities these prisoners suffered at the hands of their captors—as retaliation for German military war crimes—are discussed in detail.
The book includes a glossary (general terms), an appendix commenting on German agrarian policy under the Third Reich, a second appendix discussing the difficulties of tracing Thiel’s route through the war-torn countryside, and a third appendix of placenames. Photographs and maps are also included.

About the Author(s)

The late Hans Thiel (1902–1974) was an East Prussian farmer who spent several years as a prisoner of war.
Writer and translator Ivan Fehrenbach lives near Richmond, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Hans Thiel
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 191
Bibliographic Info: 8 photos, maps, glossary, appendices, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2971-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5503-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments       vii

Foreword by John K. Roth      1

Introduction by Ivan Fehrenbach      7

1. A Picture of the Homefront      23

2. Total War      41

3. Russian Captivity      91

4. The Polish Masters      106

Editor’s Epilogue      161

Appendix A: A Note on Agrarian Policy and Farm Life Under the Third Reich      163

Appendix B: Thiel’s Sojourn      165

Appendix C: Placenames      171

Glossary      175

Index      179

Book Reviews & Awards

“stark, unflinchingly honest account”—Midwest Book Review.