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- 13 November 2003
We lived in a medium sized town (also flattenend by allied bombers) in the "Bergische Land". My parents kept out of politics and tried to get on with bringing up four children. However, my father was continually harrassed by the local party officials, who had risen from nowhere and exercised their newly found authority: why did my father not send my brothers to the HJ (Hitler Jugend), why did he not "greet the flag" as the party marched past on Hitler's birthday (which coincidentally was also my father's birthday)and why did he not turn up for the Volksturm exercises (Homeguard)on Sunday mornings?
The pressure became so bad that one day my father - who was walking with a stick, having been shot in his knee in the First World War - went to observe the proceedings. It was largely about how to handle and throw an unwieldy "Panzerfaust" (anti tank launcher)at the enemy pantzer and take cover throwing oneself down. My father told the bigwig in charge that he couldn'd do that. Promptly he was requested to bring a doctor's certificate. The following week, my father turned up with the certificate and told the official, as he was able to contribute in a different way, they might change roles: "I can do the commandeering here and YOU throw yourself on your belly". That was the last my father ever heard from the Volkssturm.
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