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Preface

The Memoir that follows here was written to honour the lost boys of Stolpe Field, a sprawling stretch of land located just outside the northern city limits of Berlin.

I have set down events as I remember them, with the often terrifying accuracy of ‘total recall’ around age seventy, and sought corroboration, where necessary, from historical sources. Nothing was invented. Where third persons’ accounts were used in the text, this is clearly stated. Accuracy of such information could not be determined then; much was subsequently confirmed via various sources. Dialogues had to be recreated from clear memory of subject matter discussed, some with the help of survivors still living today.

While I do remember a number of first names, I cannot accurately recall a single last name of any of the boys, nor do I remember the last names of three of the girls serving with me in the Volkssturm unit. Even so, the names of most characters have been changed to protect their privacy.

While I would like nothing better than to be able to aid people still in search of loved ones reported “missing in action” during those terrible times, I have no information beyond that contained in this memoir.

The federal army research service, WAST- Dienststelle, can be reached via the following website: http://www.wast.de/

The Bibliography, a sparse list chosen from the huge body of literature on the subject matter dealt with here, contains titles of fiction and non-fiction, both English and German, and some available in both languages.

 

I have learned that human beings the world over are in all essential ways the same. Grown-ups hope for a life that will allow them to make choices leading to a state of dignity, self-respect and the chance to make a difference in their society, resulting in greater harmony and well-being for all.

Physical and spiritual health is most likely achieved where they are allowed to strive for such goals.

Children hope to grow up emulating chosen role models of either gender, and to get a chance to make things better, as they see them. With their fierce sense of justice they set out ready to go to great lengths to heal the world.

Raised in religious environments or not, they appear to know that all cultures share teachings of ethical behaviour, of peaceful conduct, of respectful attitudes towards fellow humans and all life.

It behooves all of us to really listen to the children.

This Memoir is dedicated to my own.

 

Anna


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