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Condemned to Live: A Panzer Artilleryman's Five-Front War
By Franz Frisch, Wilbur D. Jr. Jones
Publisher: White Mane Publishing Company 2000 201 Pages
PDF 15 MB
I read this fascinating memoir from a unique perspective. Franz Frisch and I were both nineteen years old when we entered the army, Franz in the German Heer in 1938; I in the U.S. Army in 1942. Both of us "not long out of Gymnasium." Both artillerymen sworn to serve our country. Only fate and geography kept us from fighting each other. Franz served in Europe; I in the North Pacific. We met, became professional associates and friends at the Defense Systems Management College in 1987, and remain so to this day.
This book reflects the goodness, sensitivity, honesty, dedication and intellect I quickly learned to admire and respect in my friend and comrade. It was a poignant and touching read for me. He provides incredible insight of the life and culture of the German common soldier of World War II. He bares his soul when he describes the conditions, miseries, personal interactions, fears and dreams he experienced during his service. I found that to be startlingly-disturbingly-similar to my own thoughts as an American soldier in a different part of the world, but engaged in the same war.
As a soldier of thirty-five years and an amateur historian, I have nowhere seen anything to rival the candid photographs of the German soldier at the front or in camp. It is a marvelous and long-lasting contribution to the study of World War II. The insights of life on the Russian front in the winter of 1941 are unparalleled and unforgettable.