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German Soldier Remembers WW2 | Memoirs Of WWII #15

German Soldier Remembers WW2 | Memoirs Of WWII #15

My full name is Gert Friedrich Franz Schmitz. And I remember, on September the 1st, 1939, Hitler was on the radio telling that the war
started. “Since 5:00 this morning, our troops marching
into Poland…” …doing whatever they do best. Six months later, Hitler marched into France. The British came, and Americans came into
the war. And I talked to my grandpa, and he told me,
he said, “If they want to win the war, it don’t look
too good.” I said, “Don’t say that, Grandpa! We cannot lose the war!” That was not even remotely in my mind that
we ever could lose the war. Because we were so conditioned, politically. Hitler controlled the newspapers, he controlled
the radio. And Goebbels, the propaganda minister, he
controlled everything else. And we listen to the news, and they told us
all what’s going on in the Western Front and how successful they are and all that. Then we walk outside and we heard the guns. And you say, “Well, that is too close for
what they tell us where they’re supposed to be.” Following their defeat in the First World
War, Germany was reeling from the harsh conditions
of a peace treaty that left the country shamed and buried in
economic crisis. But in 1933, when a radical new leader rose
to power, promising to restore Germany and place it
at the forefront of world powers, the people were captivated. Adolf Hitler’s reign brought swift economic
relief, and the German military was quickly on the rise. But his radical political party enforced totalitarianism
over the government and the public, making Nazism synonymous with the German way
of life. They had everything organized. You get couldn’t get lost through the – fall through the cracks. There were no cracks. You were part of it if you liked it or not. I got drafted into the Hitler Youth when I
was ten years old. And they gave us a uniform and all that, you
know. Like thousands of other German boys, Gert
Schmitz was swept up in the Hitler Youth. But the draft was not without its benefits. Upon graduation, Gert was offered the opportunity
to fly with the Luftwaffe. They said, “Do you want to go to a jet pilot
training school? We have one in Fulda, Germany. And you’ll go over there and you’ll start
training for flying Messerschmitt 262 jets.” I said, “Shoot, yeah!” But before he would reach the airfield, the
Allied bombing campaign would reach it first. And when I got up there, the hangars were bombed, the runways were
bombed, the airplanes were bombed. And there was nothing left for us to do. And they said, “Well, we’ll temporarily assign
you to a paratrooper outfit and send you to the Western Front.” So we got on the train that afternoon. We ended up in Pasewalk. We talked to the people – the local people
there. They heard on the news that the Russians had just come from the east and south and cut off that airbase
where we were. And that was bad news. Gert may have escaped capture by the Russians, but now he was headed to the Western Front where the British and Americans were on the
advance and the German Army was in disarray. That was chaos. The whole German Armed Forces was in total
chaos. We didn’t know where they were, I didn’t know
where the headquarters were, you didn’t know where the real front was or
anything. You were so busy surviving and fighting – We either won here, or we lost over there,
and then go to the next. We don’t know the overall picture. We have no idea what happened. And then we finally marched into Holland. The street was open between the town and the
woods- that forest where we’re supposed to go into. And it was kinda exposed, you know. And the Allies always flew eight fighter planes,
roaming in the sky. They had total sky superiority. And we had to get across that open space,
and those guys were flying around there, see. If you go in a column over there, they’ll
see us and they’re gonna mow us down. But if you go one guy every hundred feet,
they may not even pay attention to us. So it came my time to go across, and the guy
paid attention to me. And he came and started shooting at me, and
I ran into that deep ditch. And as soon as he went past me, I got out
and ran down toward the woods. And when he came the other way, I jumped back
in the ditch. And finally he got wise. Instead of going across, he came down alongside the ditch and just
unloaded. Bullets flying behind me and in front of me. I mean, there was bullets flying every which
way. So he got up, and I ran, and I didn’t go back
in the ditch – I ran all the way into the woods. Yeah, that was kinda nasty. But I hate Mustangs to this day. We were in Ramsdorf – that was my buddy and I. We were up at one end of town. And we had a bazooka. A tank came down the street, and they started
shooting. And we ran behind those big logs there. And they couldn’t hit us there. He pulled that trigger and when it hit, it
said… He got that warhead right between the tracks,
in the body. And he just blew the hell out of the inside. Nothing moved anymore after that. There was another tank that was up the street. And we were standing there, kinda looking
down the street to see what we could do. And he said, “I’m gonna go on the other side
of the street.” Because it was curved a little bit – he could
see better. I said, “Don’t go over there. That tank is up there.” And while he was in the middle, in the street, that tank shot one round right between his
legs. I went over there and got him. The shrapnel went into his uniform and ripped
his chest open. And he was sitting with his butt in the street. And he said… And then he collapsed. When we marched into Ramsdorf first, earlier,
the company commanders told us, They say, “You’ll go point to make sure everything
is alright.” And way later on after we supposed to move
out, I said, “Man, we’re probably on point again.” “We’ll be the first ones out of there.” And the company commander said, “You’re the
rear guard.” I said, “No!” You don’t want to be in the rear on the way
out. You want to be front. But anyway. There was an open field, and they wanted to
march into the woods. And while we were way behind as the rear guard,
they walked into a trap. The Americans, they already were on three
sides. And they waited ’til the whole battalion marched
in there, and they mowed them down. So – the four of us – we went off to the right, into the woods and disappeared into the woods. And that’s how we ended up behind enemy lines. Gert and his three comrades were on their
own, disoriented, and desperately searching for
ever elusive friendly territory. And then when we finally got into Dortmund,
it was daylight. And there was a six-foot fence – a chain link
fence. We said, “That must be a park. Nobody is fighting in the park, so we’re gonna be pretty safe.” So we got over – climbed over that six foot
fence… G.I.’s walking all over the place there! And they saw us and they started shooting
at us. They had a deuce and a half truck with machine
guns one there. They came around and started shooting at us
with that. And then we said, “We got to get out of this
park!” So we jumped over the fence, and there was tanks on the outside. We said, “That is not safe either. Let’s jump back in the fence.” We jumped back over that six-foot fence, and then that truck came and started shooting
at us. We went back over the fence – again – and
went in the other direction. And we saw a pine forest over there, and I said, “Let’s get in to that forest and
get the heck out of here!” And we crawled on our stomachs, and we finally
got into the woods and they came after us. And I said, “Well, let’s hide behind the trees
’til they go. If they don’t see us they might go away.” And they came and I stood behind that tree,
you know. We all stood behind each one of those trees
– just big enough to hide us. And I said, “What am I gonna do?” We can’t run – they’re gonna start shooting
at us. And I finally – I put my hand out and waved. You know, said, “Hi.” And they said, “Come on out! Come on out!” You know. “Hands up! Hands up!” And that’s how we got captured. Now in American custody, intended for relocation
to a POW camp in the United States, Gert began the long journey across Europe. From prison camp to prison camp, he passed the time by drawing pictures to
document his experiences. But before Gert would reach the French coast,
Germany surrendered, the war came to an end, and the prisoners
were sent back to their homes. The Germany Gert returned to was very different
than he remembered. Hitler was gone, the Nazi party dissolved,
and Gert himself had acquired a fresh perspective. I didn’t realize how bad it was. But then after the war, everything became
democratic, you know, and peaceful. And I said, “Wait a minute. That’s a heck of a lot different than what we went through – all that.” You know. I didn’t know about the full extent of the
concentration camps because that was kept so well secret, you
know. We heard about it, you know. But they said that’s where murderers go in, and wife beaters, you know. And they – supposed to be rehabilitated. But they didn’t do that. And I didn’t know the full extent ’til I came
to the United States. Following the war, Gert immigrated to the
U.S., served with the Army, and went on to a career in Aerospace Engineering,
working alongside Wernher Von Braun. Gert served his country honorably in the Second
World War. But like all of those who survived, regardless
of what side, he hopes to one day live in a world free of
violent conflict. War is the stupidest thing that man invented. If you can’t talk it out – if you cannot communicate, you start fighting. You have to do away with your problem. You have to annihilate your problem. But, that is not a solution. That just creates more problems. Don’t fight. Talk it out. There’s got to be a solution. There is always a solution.

Reader Comments

  1. @Memoirs of WWII
    You've made a mistake in your subtitles.
    At 8:36, he isn't talking about Dortmund, he said "Dülmen", which is a small town about 25 kilometers away from Ramsdorf (the town with the tank encounter), about half the distance from Dortmund.

  2. Sadly you can't always talk it out. If one side is hell-bent on conquering other nations and annihilating other races then that isn't something you can compromise on.

  3. We dehumanize the enemy and make them the devil, to allow us to do evil in good’s name. We need to remember that even the enemy is human

  4. Hitler controlled the newspapers Hitler controlled the radio and he had his propaganda minister. He told lies about how everything was going so well on the Western front.So much winning! It’s all starting to sound too familiar.

  5. God bless this mans soul he asked for this he wanted to fight but nothing could’ve prepared him for the horror of war

  6. All germans who served in military back then were nazis – they were supporting nazi war machine, they were shooting nazi enemies which makes them at least nazi associates. They were turning blind eye to nazi crimes – murdering civilians etc.
    The only ones who can hold their heads high are the ones who actively helped the victims and opposed nazis. not many.

  7. And this is a prove that Americans was helping nazis after war , you can hear it on this film how this nazi old fucker speak American accent 🖕

  8. The question is, how he got all the matches footage? Is there someone else got task to always bring a big camera?

  9. I loved this guy. He tells great stories. Great to see the Germans perspective. Wish I could here more from him.

  10. When you are a soldier, all ideals or political reasons for fighting the war go out the window. It's just about defending the guys next to you once the bullets fly. And most German soldiers were fighting for Germany, not Nazism.

  11. Did we forget about the Dwight D. Eisenhower Concentration Camps that starved thousands of German soldiers.

  12. That final scene really hit home. Shivers down my spine. So true.
    Very nice hearing about WW2 from a Germans perspective. It just goes to show how much influence and how easily brainwashed people are through dictatorships, through controlled media… Makes you wonder if this is happening in our "democratic" societies today, in "first world" countries?!

  13. How easy it is to forget that the people on the other side are just that, *people*. Most never consider their side and it is just as truly amazing to hear their stories. Please, can we get more stories from those who were on the axis side of the war?

  14. The point of this video is to get a sense of what real war is, so we can avoid it in the future.
    It took 2 World Wars for humanity to understand that war is not worth it.

  15. English, Russian, American, German, Japanese, Italian, French.
    Wether side you are on, nobody is evil, these men were never bad, they just worked for bad people.
    In war, nobody is good, and nobody is evil

  16. If this had come up 20 Years earlier, there would be tons of stories for this platform.
    For example, my grandfather was a Wehrmacht veteran, who was disabled from a grenade that exploded next to him, fighting the Russian.
    Every Year for 1 month, he visited a retirement home for disabled Wehrmacht soldiers. As a young boy, was with him once in a while. There was over 50 Wehrmacht veterans housing this home, and everyone had a story to tell. As a boy, born in Texas, my father American, mother German(Daughter of Grandpa), everyone was always nice to me.

  17. Such a gentle and kind human being. He was just a young soldier fighting for his country, just like all the other young men trying to survive. Thank you all for what you did.

  18. What did they all win from this stupid destructive war ? Nothing at all…..
    They all Lost big time, lost of lives and dignity ….
    only evil won 😈

  19. This scenario has not changed , it just changed it´s location.
    America and Russia are playing their games in Turkey.
    The Jews from ww2 are the kurds now .
    Nothing , absolutly nothing has changed , just look at theese Turkish Nazi´s living in germany,
    not a single fkn thing learned from history.

  20. this guy is no ss soldier he is a paid actor , makin his own country look like propaganda and racist shit thats all lies

  21. "so we got on the train that afternoon" at 03.17, not that train he didn't, the Bauart Hamburg two car version of the high speed Fligender Zuge were, as all versions, withdrawn from service with the outbreak of war.

    Also he DIDN't join the Falschimjager (which by then were parachutists in name only) 03.12 and DIDN'T become a trainee pilot for anything let alone for the plane flown solely by the most experienced pilots, even the "built for the HJ" He 162 Volksjager was found too complicated and..

    "The offensive to capture central Germany and Berlin started on 16 April with an assault on the German front lines on the Oder and Neisse rivers. After several days of heavy fighting the Soviet 1BF and 1UF punched holes through the German front line and were fanning out across central Germany." Pasewalk (03.22) is 20 kilometres WEST of the Oder and therefore there were no Russian there until after 16 April 1945.

    I am sure this now 92 year old has some interesting memories but somehow it feels as though the producers were trying just a bit too hard to make it sound interesting.

  22. Gert there simply is no talking to men like Hitler. You can't "talk it out", that had to happen the way it happened. Too bad, but those are the facts.

  23. This fellow, although the enemy, was a soldier doing his duty, an honorable man. He wasn’t a Nazi at heart. He’d have done the same only in our Army had he’d been born in the USA.

  24. end sucked, that last part about wars and fighting. come one men kids in preschool have conflicts, its in our nature

  25. all Germans served for bankers from Wall Street. they invented Nazis and sponsored them to rich a power … stupid and obey germans followed them to the end… muricans banksters filled up pockets, Germany are US colony till now and german nation is the shadow of those days


  27. It’s strange to hear the war from the view of a German like when he was talking to his grandfather and I heard the words “it’s impossible for us to lose”. It makes you remember that these “Bad guys” (as we would call them) can feel aswell

  28. Jesus Ch. What the f..k??? New history of WW2! Since couple years Germans creating a “ better” interpretation off ‘39. Nazis were responsible for the war( Nazis- Bad trial from Planet Hitler), polish KL( dead camps), Wermacht fought against communists, in the name of freedom, no one from brave German( sorry Nazi) army was involved in civilian massacres, Bayer, VW, Hugo Boss didn’t made any deals with Hitlers’ regime, euthanasia in Germany before ‘39 is only a small, not important episode…. Why somebody is trying to show these animals as a humans? Deutschland war und ist für die 5 Kriegsjahren verantwortlich. Das was hat eueren Volk getan wird niemals vergessen. Ihr seit Tätern, unglaubliche große Tragödie für Millionen Menschen ist für Deutschen eine Episode, schlechtes Albtraum, nur der Albtraum. Heute Deutschland endlich bezahlt für Hitler. Massive Emigration, Millionen Flüchtlingen, muslimische Welle macht Ordnung mit kommenden Generationen. Ihr habt kein Zukunft mehr.

  29. It was supposedly European war. But Britain can't fathom the growing German empire. They said German soldiers are just want to defend there fatherland but because they won on different fronts nations like Britain and Co capitalist can't sit back and relax. The France March was just a tactical error on French forces that was far more men, gun, artillery and even tanks.

  30. I must admit, my grandparents being Holocaust survivors, having lost most of their family to the concentration camps and growing up with stories of extreme dislike of anything German, I didn't want to watch this. Especially after the Germans stole the homes, property and wealth of my family. I grew up with stories of how they barely escaped, how their friends and family disappeared after the gestapo came and got them. How the German soldiers took a great cousin of mine out of a mental home and sent him straight to the gas chambers. Perhaps this guy didn't know the horrors of what was going on, but I'm always willing to listen to the "other" side. At least they got to live.

  31. I feel these soliders are mistreated, as most of them were drafted, or tried to make a living out of the war. History is written by the victors.

  32. A very powerful story with the wisdom and credibility that comes from being there. It is an honor to hear these stories, from both sides.

  33. Memoir of this coward who afraid of fighting I hate this pathetic lazy bastard calling himself a German. Slave of Americans this bastard must be killed

  34. Just another kid in warmachine…and NO they mostly weren't some kind of villains that hwood&co. makes you believe,just another young man in different fatigues hoping that shit will end and return to his family…sad

  35. Came to see this as a YT recomend. Actually my grandfather was in the ss and served in the "winterschlacht" 41/42 where he got the medal and the ek2. The rgt. was renewed back in germany when he decided to drop out and got a transfer to the gestapo in "Fulda" It makes sense to me now, I did not know abou the "luftwaffe" security there. I only have his "ss soldbuch" the 2 medals, and the gestapo badge with a "passierschein" alltogether worth abt. 3.5 tsd € I wont sell, but rather keep it in family as we are documented more than 250 years of german bloodline..

  36. watch Squadron 303 where polish pilots helped british to fight germans and the end where treated like shit…I couldnt belive it becauce i was raised in Poland and had to read about them in schools but had no idea how they were thanked by british in the end…disgusting

  37. I have always said let the world leaders play a game of Chess. This game takes skill and planning. No need for war. Either that or let them fight it out in a room. Some world leaders need to be hit in the head with a shovel.

  38. My Great Grandfather (Wehrmacht) fought on the eastern front and in africa where he ended up as a POW. But he survived and told my dad about what he went through. I think he even told him that he smoked a cigarette with a soviet.

  39. Please check out Świadkowie Epoki Channel, hundreds of amazing interviews that need to be translated to English!!

  40. They were brain washed since the hitler youth. Brought up mentally thinking one way. This man is very lucky how many times he escaped death and live to tell about it…made my eyes water..

  41. Anyone understanding German might want to listen to these soldier's stories

  42. There needs to be more stories, movies and documentaries from the german perspective. The regime was evil, but the suffering of the soldiers (mostly young boys) was even more unimaginable being on the losing side. That added to the fact they were eventually fighting to defend they're own territory from the notoriously cruel Russians who'd rape and murder any civilians they found.

    It's also incredible that a former german soldier eventually ended up in the US military

  43. Hey guys I really appreciate what you are doing on this channel. My girlfriend works at a retirement home, she speaks about stories residents tell her about WW2. I believe in the same things you guy are doing. Contact me I'll see what I can do for you guys

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