Für Volk and Führer

The Memoir of a Veteran of the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler

Erwin Bartmann

Date Published :
May 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
25 b/w photos, 2 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781909384538
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781911628361
Pages : 248
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available
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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. Tall, blond, blue-eyed, and just seventeen-years-old, Erwin fulfilled his dream on Mayday 1941, when he gave up his apprenticeship at the Glaser bakery in Memeler Strasse and walked into the Lichterfelde barracks in Berlin as a raw, volunteer recruit.

On arrival at the Eastern Front in late summer 1941, Erwin was assigned to a frontline communications squad attached to 4.Kompanie and soon discovered that survival was a matter of luck - or the protection of a guardian angel. Good fortune finally deserted Erwin on 11 July 1943 when shrapnel sizzled through his lung during the epic Battle of Kursk-Prokhorovka. Following a period of recovery, and promotion to Unterscharführer, Erwin took up a post as machine-gun instructor with the Ausbildung und Ersatz Bataillon, a training unit based close to the eastern section of the Berliner Ring Autobahn. When the Red Army launched its massive assault on the Seelow Heights, Erwin's unit, now incorporated into Regiment Falke, was deployed to the southern flank of the Berlin-Frankfurt Autobahn, close to the River Oder. The German defenses soon crumbled and with the end of the Reich 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 lonely women, this candid eyewitness account offers a unique and sometimes surprising perspective on the life of a young Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler volunteer.

About The Author

Erwin Walter Bartmann, was born on 12 December 1923 in Schlochau, a town close to the then Polish border. Today the town, now called Czluchów, lies within Poland. Erwin was the youngest of four brothers two of whom died in infancy. In the hope of finding a better life, his family moved to Berlin in 1927. In 1941, Erwin enlisted voluntarily in the 1st Waffen SS Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, fought on the Eastern Front, served as a machine-gun instructor, and eventually spent time as a POW in England and Scotland.

Unable to return in safety to his home in the Soviet controlled sector of Berlin, Erwin decided to remain in Edinburgh and took up a position as a baker. He became a British citizen on 5 November 1955 and later married his Scottish sweetheart with whom he raised a son. Erwin died on 14 September 2012.


“This is a valuable memoir, providing both a good account of the nature of the fighting in the East, and the changing attitudes of the author, both towards the Nazi regime and the chances of final victory.”

- History of War

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