Another publication from BioComm Press (a subsidiary of BioScience Solutions – FOR WHAT IT WAS WORTH by B. R. TEICHER now available in EBOOK AND PRINT FORMATS!

FOR ALL IT WAS WORTH is the true, personal account of a German soldier’s experiences in Nazi Germany – before, during and after the War.  A story of combat and captivity – of courage, deception, and survival – FOR ALL IT WAS WORTH provides piercing insights into the indoctrination of the German people into Nazi ideology, and addresses the issues facing German World War II veterans.

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Cover Image: The author listening to Radio Dresden on a Crystal Detector Radio

The author was born in Dresden in 1924 – the year Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was published. Growing up during the pre-War Nazi years, he joined the Hitler Jugend. Following harsh basic training, he was sent to the Eastern Front where he saw combat near Kursk. Captured by the Russians, he escaped and was transferred to the Italian Campaign. With his acquired knowledge of Italian and local conditions, he volunteered for the special forces Division Brandenburg, where he was trained in sabotage and intelligence gathering, operating behind enemy lines and wreaking havoc with the enemy’s command, communication and logistical structures.

Arriving on leave in Dresden during the February 1945 firebombing, he recounts the terrible aftermath (including the extrication and burial of his father from the ruins of Dresdner Bank) of one of the most devastating and controversial attacks of the Second World War.

Following his return to Italy, and the subsequent capitulation of German forces, he was detained as a PoW in Northern Italy for almost two years. Battle-hardened and disillusioned, he used all his clandestine and organisational skills to initiate successful Black Market operations, while working as an interpreter for the British Army.

Imprisoned in Austria as an escapee, he finally returned to a shattered Germany in 1947, where he elected to remain illegally in the US zone of Occupation. What follows is a gripping story of survival, and an insight into the hardships and privations facing the German people, leading to the Wiederaufbau.

Much more than a military narrative, the author presents a candid view into the mind and soul of the German people. FOR ALL IT WAS WORTH is an account of Hitler’s Germany and its consequences – and is a remarkable document of value to post-War generations, as well as historians and students of World War II.

Excerpt from “For All It Was Worth” – Venice, Italy 1946

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Venice, Italy 1946

I did not only go to Mestre to chase the money, but also to widen my cultural horizons by occasionally driving the few extra kilometers to visit Venice. I could go as far as the Piazzale Roma, next to the railway station. This was the gateway to Venice, where buses and cars had to be parked, because there were no streets in Venice, only the canali. Venice was, and presumably still is, located on a large number of islands, including some which were uninhabited.

The water-bus ride along the Canal Grande was most impressive, viewing all these old and splendid, but usually poorly maintained palazzi. Right next to the Doge’s palace, where the Canal Grande met the Venetian laguna, was the British Officers Club, where I usually started and, some hours later, finished my excursions. Why the heck was I wearing my Polish 1st lieutenant’s uniform on these occasions? A completely unnecessary risk! On the other hand the visit to the Officers Club wasn’t for the drinks and snacks, but I often had interesting discussions with all sorts of British and Allied officers, including quite often some US officers from their air force or navy, mostly.

Afterwards I liked to hire a gondola and to explore along the canali the sites a tourist would never see. I particularly remember a tiny, decrepit-looking church on one of the canals, but which was beautiful inside. Needless to say, I enquired from the gondoliere the best small trattoria for a typical Italian lunch.

After that I took some more pictures with my expensive German camera, but this was not much of a success, because I simply did not know how to properly use such a sophisticated camera. Or the Italian drugstore operators, developing and printing my pictures, didn’t know their job? But no, it was definitely my shortcomings, possibly using the wrong type of 35mm film. Later I usually took a vaporetto to the Lido, where there was also much to see. One of the attractions was the palace of the Venice Film Biennale. One day I hired, at great expense, a gondola to visit some of the many outlying islands, amongst them Murano with their glass blowers, and the cemetery island.

In the autumn of 1946, after several months of leisurely and profitably fleecing the ‘enemy’, our idyllic life took a turn for the worse. Up to now, we had been dealing with regular Black Market operators, and with a few NCOs with sticky fingers. But now we had an approach of a different kind. One day I was contacted (in Venice!) by two smooth-talking and well-dressed and well-behaved gentlemen, who politely suggested that we sell our fuel in future to a specific service station near Mira. To clarify the meaning of their well-meaning suggestion, one of them casually lifted the corner of his well-tailored and expensive jacket, to reveal an automatic pistol.

For a while we stalled. Who wants to give away a well-run profitable business? But then things got a bit out of hand, for our taste. Our new would-be collaborators had heard about a small fuel tanker, moored in the harbor of Mestre. They were looking for a way to steal the damn thing, or rather the contents. At a later meeting, they claimed that they had already roped in a navy chap of some sort, but they needed road transport. Before they could go into details, I told them not to bother: we are out!

 


FOR ALL IT WAS WORTH is the true, personal account of one German soldier’s experiences in Nazi Germany – before, during and after World War II. A story of combat and captivity – of courage, deception, and survival – FOR ALL IT WAS WORTH addresses the issues facing German World War II veterans. An unrivaled account of Hitler’s Germany – honestly and candidly told, FOR ALL IT WAS WORTH is a remarkable document of value to post-War generations, as well as historians and students of World War II. TO BE PUBLISHED IN 2017.

Traditional Greek Komboloi made of Samos Olive and thousand-year Danish Bog Oak

Four thousand years ago, an ancient oak sank into a Danish peat bog where it lay, dark and hidden through the Stone, Iron and Bronze ages, the Viking period and Middle Ages until – shortly after WWII – it was dug up, black as pitch and almost as hard as coal, and laid to dry for a further seventy years.

Ten years ago I found some olive wood branches in Samos, Greece – packed them in my luggage and figured I would find use for them some day.

Today, Niels Ole Rønberg performed his magic on the lathe – and the result is a traditional Greek Komboloi made of Samos Olive and thousand-year Danish Bog Oak. In the lower picture, the Komboloi is joined by 45-million-year old Danish Amber and 300-million-year old North Sea coal in a bowl of 100-year old Danish Elm, also worked by Niels Ole Rønberg.

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Excerpt from “For All It Was Worth”… and the discovery of a long-lost painting!!

“My grandfather, vintage of 1871, was a Dekorations-Malermeister, a master house painter, and with this in Germany important qualification, and as he had his own business, he belonged to the established middle classes. He was spared the losses associated with the 1923 hyperinflation because he had no bank or savings accounts to speak of. At this stage my own family was in the lucky position to own also practically nothing, so they had nothing to lose.

He was, however, not only a house painter, but he also had studied painting at the famous Dresden Art Academy and painted some beautiful oil paintings. A few I have salvaged over all these years. Often I looked at them, reminiscing about the times with my grandparents, and the memories of Dresden as it was then, before the 1945 fire storm and virtually total destruction of the city.”

In 2016, an oil painting my grandfather had painted of the ‘Frauenkirche in Dresden’ and which was the pride and joy of our sitting room – and for which he became quite famous in Dresden – was discovered by my son for sale at a Dresden Art and Antiques dealer.

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“As a youngster he was apprenticed to Walter Kolbe – later to become a famous sculptor – before he studied Painting in Dresden. This, apparently, did not work out and eventually he became a house painter by profession, and a very successful one.”

Update: we contacted Joachim Noack and – fortunately – the painting had not been sold! Another example of the power of the internet!

Excerpt from “For All It Was Worth”

 

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Cover Image: The author listening to Radio Dresden on a Crystal Detector Radio

 

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Excerpt from “For All It Was Worth”:

“In about 1927 my grandfather acquired a detector radio. This was a contraption the size of a large cigar box, with what looked like a silver wire on an arm touching a crystal of some sort, and a dial to select the desired radio station. In his case this was a bit theoretical because the only station he could receive was Radio Dresden, and this only very scratchily. But a lot of fun was had by all, I remember. After all, this was for this generation the first new technological adventure, after electric light, cars, Zeppelins and Flying Machines.”