Like many Germans, Berlin schoolboy Erwin Bartmann fell under the spell of the Zeitgeist cultivated by the Nazis. Convinced he was growing up in the best country in the world, he dreamt of joining the Leibstandarte, Hitler’s elite Waffen SS unit. Erwin fulfilled his dream on May Day 1941, when he walked into the Lichterfelde barracks in Berlin as a raw recruit. On arrival at the Eastern Front in late summer 1941, Erwin was assigned to a frontline communications squad. When the end of the Reich became inevitable, Erwin was forced to choose between a struggle for personal survival and the fulfillment of his SS oath of “loyalty unto death.”
From the war on the southern sector of the Eastern Front to a bomb-shattered Berlin populated largely by old men and demoralized women, this candid eyewitness account offers a unique and sometimes surprising perspective on the life of a young Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler volunteer.
“A valuable memoir, providing both a good account of the changing attitudes of the author, both towards the Nazi regime and the chances of final victory.” —History of War