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My times as an Untersturmführer in the Waffen-SS pioneers
On the frontline with the Division “Das Reich”
Dr. Gerhard Femppel, Written by Adrian Matthes
Gerhard Femppel, born in Stuttgart in 1925, came from a modest background. From an early age, he was in pursuit of a career and, based on his achievements, was accepted at a NAPOLA-school. He voluntarily reported to the Waffen-SS at the age of 16 and was promoted to SS-Untersturmführer in record time. From December 1944, he was appointed platoon leader in the armoured division ‘Das Reich’ and later deployed as company commander. As a pioneer, he fought together with the SS regiments ‘Der Führer’ and ‘Deutschland’ on the Eastern and Western front. He experienced the battlegrounds of the last years of war against the enemy, firstly in the Ardennes Offensive, later in Hungary and finally in the battle for Vienna. During his time of service, he was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class, the Close Combat Clasp, the ‘Tank Buster’ sleeve stripe and the General Assault Badge.
With this book, we hope to provide insight into an elite troop that is the subject of controversial discussion to this day. Who were the men of the Waffen-SS? This will be answered in detail on the basis of an individual’s case in this book. The war diary has been preserved to this day as an exceptional piece of history in which he wrote down his thoughts about the war. In addition to this, Gerhard Femppel, who is still able to remember the events 76 years after the end of the war, has managed to relay his war stories. We have recorded very personal experiences to give an understanding of what happened from a SS soldier’s point of view for the next generations. Dr. Femppel’s personal papers and photographs until the last days of the war are presented in a comprehensive picture section.
170 pages, 131 images, hardcover