I would like to give some personal views from the time 1941-45 from my childhood related to the HBC pages on World War II and the bombing of Germany. Here are some of my memories as a German boy of 7-10 years of age during the War
I was born in 1935 and grew up in Stuttgart. This was a city of with a population of about 500,000 people. I entered school in fall 1941. I lived with my motherin the household of my grand parents. (My parents were divorced.) We lived in a four story building with 6-room apartments belonging to the grandparents. We lived on the third floor. (German numbering second floor). I do not recall much influence of the War.
In fall 1942 I was sent to relatives in a smaller town about 120 km to the south of Stuttgart. I don't know whether it was a state regulation or just as a private decision. There, I went again to school, second grade. My uncle was involved in the Nazi party. About Christmas 1942 I was returned to Stuttgart. I don't know why, maybe because my grandfather did not favour the Third Reich.
I was taken after Christmas to another relatives, my aunt who lived in a village about 90 km to the East of Stuttgart. Her husband was away as a soldier. She had a little boy younger than me. Again not much influence of the war. Continuing school there, some boys and girls for playing, a garden with poultry.
In 1943 I was returned home to Stuttgart during summer vacation. Three observable changes in the house: A big water tube under the wooden roof and a big heap of sand there, both to extinguish in case of fire from a napalm bomb. [HBC note: The Allies did not drop napalm on cities. They did drop inceniaries which were the most destructive of the munitions used.] The door down to the deep arched stone cellar under the house was inforced and the two openings up to the ground surface (about 5 m high) were broken out to allow escape with a ladder. And an underground escape tunnel was being dug to the two neighbouring houses. I experienced (now 8 years old) the first time an air-raid alarm during a night, brought down into the cellar only with pyjama and a warm coat, dog-sleep.
Some days later my mother and I myself left for summer vacation to another relatives (my
mother was conscripted to work in her profession in an hospital in Stuttgart). After the holidays I was brought back to my relatives in the small village mentioned continuing school there, now in the third grade. Again, not much influence of war-time, but with school mates collecting money for the soldiers and people bombed in their houses ("Winterhilfswerk"). In 1944, now 9 years of age, the War had become observable. During day and night bombers flew over the village high in the sky, we children observed battles between German and accompanying Allied air-craft. Sometimes hidding in the old deep cellar of a brewery nearby. My mother was allowed to transfer to a military hospital in a town about 20 km away.
Again the summer holidays, we travelled home to Stuttgart, a strong air-attack, parts of Stuttgart were burning. Next morning we walked through streets with damaged and burning houses on the side to a suburb railway station to catch a train travelling to the relatives were we had spent summer holidays the year before. There I had to go to school
After the summer vacation I went to school in a one-class school for 4 weeks. Farming was interesting for me as a child grown up mostly in a large city. Returned, I went again to my regular school, now in the 4th grade. Not too much changes, three or four times going to an event of the Hitlerjugend for some sport, no central heating in the school anymore when it became cold. More often air battles were up in the sky, during night the mirroring of burning cities which were bombed were visible. A camp of prisoners of war was established outside of the village, in the morning and in the evening they passed the path along our garden going to an industrial plant where they had to work. Till christmas 1944 I stayed with the relatives.
My mother arrived with a small rack-waggon to fetch me and my belongings to the town were she was working. The 20-km march for me in the cold winter was an experience, two times attacks by Allied
planes along the road towards all which was moving, we hided ourselves behind trees. I was cared for in an orphanage when mother was working. Then we went to the room which she has rented. Two experiences there: Playing with children outside the house suddenly an Allied plane arrived shooting to the street, we jumped behind the steps of a doorway. And some days later again playing downstairs with the childrens there. A soldier arrived and brought the message to the housewife that her husband had been killed.
From the window of my mother's room a road was visible, all traffic was stopped under daylight to avoid attacks by low-flying aircraft.
When the American Army arrived I joined my mother in the hospital. Her work went on for some weeks.
Then she was ordered to work in an Allied prisoner camp and hospital. We drove on an amphibious tank to the other place, nearer to Stuttgart, another experience for a 10 year old boy. I think I was the only child there, we had a room in a former officers' barrack, good proviant, no playmates, but allowed to walk around and investigate all which was open in this area. Note that since beginning of 1945 I didn't go to school any more. So, my mother started to prepare homework for me in German writing, in mathematics, and in English - to communicate with the American soldiers if required.
About 2 months later in July 1945 my mother was allowed to return to Stuttgart. The house of my grand parents no longer had any glass windows, two houses up the street houses were destroyed, the stones were fallen down to the street so only a small passage was free. Our house was not hit by the bomb. In September a gymnasium nearby opened for pupils in the Sexta, I had to go to school again, old and new schoolmates returned to Stuttgart, and life was normalising for a child after the War. The family was still alive, back in there home, no flight, war was ended!
The three houses nearby which I mentioned which were destroyed were the only one in the near neighborhood. So the children living around returned to home, with about similar experience. For us the war was over, school began again, not much changes in the living condition. Well, not much food, but this was already the case before 1945. Coal was scarse so it was cold in the winter with broken windows provisionally closed by socalled "Drahtglas". This was something like a plastic plate with wires in it
to enforce against strong wind. Subtenants in the appartment sitting in the kitchen were the only stove was unter fire. Adults went to work again and tried to manage to get food and heating, being involved
in repairing the buildings. Chikdren 10 or 11 year old are happy when they are with the parents. Fathers began coming back from POW camps, if they were captured by the Western Allies. Parents managed to support the children. The parents did not much discuss what happened in the 12 years of the socalled "Tausendjährigem Reich" of the Nazis (the "Imperium for one thousand years") with the youngsters. In the neigborhood there was no child coming at the end of the war from the East as a "Flüchtlingskind" (refugee child), so the much, much harder experiences of such a child were not a topic of our childhood surroundings and discussions. We were just going to school, doing our homework, playing in the afternoon. It was the task of the adults to think about what happened. Children of my age had not much to do with the Nazis, we were young, 10 years old, although some certainly were more introduced to the Nazis' ideas than I was (and those didn't show it much!). Note, that because Stuttgart like other larger cities was in general heavily damaged not many refugee families came into the city, may be the father for working from Monday to Saturday, travelling home on Sunday to the countryside village were the family found a place to live.
Also in school, in 1946/1947, there were not many refugees' children. It was only later in 1948 that such families found rooms or appartments in the city; then some of the schoolmates were refugees. How fast do children of then 12 or 13 years of age forget what they experienced when the living conditions improved?
As a teenager, well, my family had not much troubles during wartime, the house was still usable, no near
relative was killed, rationing of scare commodities continued, the grandfather was rehabilitated and working
again as a consultant for the German Mail system - we were not a typical German family in this aspect. My
family was thankful to the Allied forces that the war was finished and the Nazis were swept away. For me
the death of the grandmother in 1948 was more to think about than the relatively bad situation during 1941
to 1945 which I had to experience in early childhood.
Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Main Chronology Page]
[The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s]
Navigate the Relate Boys Historical Clothing Style Pages
[Long pants suits] [Short pants suits] [Lederhosen] [Kneesocks] [Eton suits]
[Jacket and trousers] [Blazer [School sandals]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Page
[Return to the Main German World War II evacuations page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [Essays] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]