My name is, Abelard Lahm, I was born in 1926, my father died two months before I was born, and I have one twin brother, named Thomas. I was unfortunate to live through the six years between 1939-1945, as a nazi. Germany was a place, where money didn’t matter anymore, there was only the fortunate, and the unfortunate Germans. I thought I was lucky enough to be one of the few “true Germans”. I was a member of the Hitler youth. Us Aryans, were considered the best of the best. Hitler believed that the older ones are used up. Yes, they are old already. They are rotten to the marrow. They have no unrestrained instincts left. They are cowardly and sentimental. They are bearing the burden of a humiliating past, and have in their blood the dull recollection of serfdom and servility. But he believed that we, the magnificent youth! Are there finer ones anywhere in the world... Youth must be indifferent to pain. There must be no weakness or tenderness in it. “I want to see once more in its eyes the gleam of pride and independence of the beast of prey. Strong and handsome must my young men be. I will have them fully trained in all physical exercises. I intend to have an athletic youth - that is the first and the chief thing.” - Adolf Hitler I grew up in Frankfurt Germany, and at the age of six (in 1932), I was enrolled in the Volksschule Nazi elementary school. (Everyone calls it grammar, school but it really is only primary school). Our classes were separated by gender, until we got to secondary school. In primary school, we started our day giving the Heil Hitler salute. This salute was expected at the beginning and end of every single lesson. In Germany, respect and discipline were the two most important things. We were expected to salute teachers whenever we saw them. When the teacher entered the classroom, we would all get up and give a formal salute. If by chance I saw a teacher outside of school, I was expected to greet her/him with a salute. When I was in my second year of secondary school, I saw my maths teacher on the street, (he had recently gave me a failing grade in an exam), my anger got the better of me and i ignored him. The following morning, my mother received notification that I was suspended for 1 day. When I was 14 years old, in secondary school many male teachers were drafted to help with the war. It was common for schools to have a shortage of teachers. This forced schools in Germany, to resort to older men, as well as women. This also resulted in, increasing class sizes. In my third year of secondary school, my class had 43 students. Our general school attire, consisted of a buttoned shirt, and we had the option of pants are shorts, and were required to wear long socks.We did not normally wear their Hitler Youth or German League of Girls uniforms, however, the school expected us to wear the uniforms on special occasions, for example; Hitler’s Birthday, we would get dressed in our Hitler Youth attire, and one student from each class gave a speech on the Fuhrer’s achievements, and accomplishments, this was April 20th. Inside of our classrooms, we always had a portrait of Hitler, to keep us company. We had a map, that showed us our progress and how far we’ve gotten in the war. My classmates and I, always enjoyed marking major moments in the war with pins, it was the highlight of every month. However, we seemed to be enjoying our months, less and less, when the odds started pointed against our beloved nation. And, lastly, and most surprisingly, we had benches instead of desks. The classrooms were increasing by the day, we could no longer fit in the class with just desks. Our school board then decided to rid of our desks, and replace them with benches, and tables. Inside of the classrooms, our lessons, were based upon six subjects. Maths, English, Science, Gymnasium, German, and Religious classes. Maths, Gym, and Science classes were normal courses. In English class, we were writing papers on the Fuhrer, and the war. Our daily readings, mostly consisted of newsletters on the progress of the war. Every morning we were expected to summarize our readings about the war. However, we were sometimes assigned books, about the history of Jews, and we read papers on the Jewish effect on the world. In German class, we learned about German history. In my third year of secondary school, German class, was mostly focused about how Hitler was able to help us escape the economic crisis we were in, following the first World War. In Religious courses, we were reading a lot about why the Jews are bad for our nation. Teachers who tried to keep a stable class, were automatically removed from their position. From this course, I took out that history has proven that Jews are to blame for many of the world's traumas. As the Jews killed Jesus, the Jews are the ones who were in Denial of Muhammad's prophethood, the Jews killed Tsar Alexander II, and most importantly, the Jews are greedy usurers, who create “Black death” epidemics. My journey in the Hitler Youth started when I was 14 years old. However, during this time I didn’t want to join the Hitler youth, I craved of joining the Wandervogel. My mother didn’t believe in it, nor could we cover the costs of it. My mother believed that these organisations, were too violent and too brutal for a teengager. A couple months later, the Hitler youth was getting very popular, all my friends were joining. My mother still disagreed, they forbid me to join. No matter how much I wanted it. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one dealing with this situation. A large majority of my friends had the same problem, thus, when it was time to write our next school paper, we all wrote it on our experiences at home. In the essay we gave detailed explanations on how our parents forbid us from joining the Hitler youth. A couple weeks later, in November 1936, Hitler made it a requirement for all Aryan boys to join the Hitler youth; any parent who attempts to deny their child from this opportunity will be sent to jail, and beaten. My mother was now forced to allow me to join the Hitler Youth. Starting from 1940, I knew that what I had coming for me, were going to be the best years of my life. In the Hitler Youth, I was rebuilt, physically, and mentally. We were normally going on trained until we were able to complete a fifty mile hike, With no food, other than the small rations we were able to fit inside of our backpacks. During out fifty mile hike, my best friend, Peter was recently just recovering from a very severe illness, however this still did not excuse him from the trainings. The instructors believed, that we must be an athletic bunch, that is the primary objective. We must be, violently active and dominating, intrepid, and brutal, those are the traits we must acquire. The Hitler Youth must be all those things. We must be indifferent to pain. We cannot have any sign of weakness, or softness. Hitler believed that we must be “strong and handsome”. We must be fully trained in all physical exercises. Peter had a severe relapse after we had the assessment. I went with Peter to the doctor after to get him checked up; I was very worried that Peter’s illness will have him removed from the Hitler Youth. The doctor then revealed to me that it was normal, that after the assessment he would receive at least thirty new patients. The only way I was able to survive the march, was by singing the cold nights away, foreshadowing our destiny that awaits in our graduation. Hitler believed that the youth organisation must maintain discipline. Hitler was great at maintaining it, his method was to simply have certain punishments. For example, if you talked out of turn, you were punished by not being allowed to wear your scarf for a set amount of time. However, that was for just wacking around or talking out of turn. The other punishment was a more severe punishment. Part of our uniform was a dagger. It was an honor to be allowed to wear that. If you did something really bad, you were not allowed to wear your scarf and your dagger and that meant that you were like an outcast. Then if you proceeded to lack discipline, they would send you home, and you would have to work the problem out with your parents. I can only remember one time, where the instructors ignored our disciplinary rules. That was the night of November 8th, 1938, Kristallnacht, Crystal night. We all spread out on the streets of Jewish neighborhoods just like Hitler had commanded. Once we heard the Fuhrer’s signal, we ran through the neighborhoods, wreaking havoc amongst anything we saw in front of us. It was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. We were tearing down houses, buildings, we were causing fires, explosions, everything. We then walked to the end of the street, and there it was. The synagogue, the biggest Synagogue in the city. We tried opening the door, but it was locked. We then stood there, it was quiet for a moment, and nothing was happening. We then heard another command, and in a blink of an eye, the door was down on the ground, and we were all inside of the synagogue. Us, as young members of the Hitler youth didn’t know what to do, we just stood there, watching as the Nazi’s and the seniors were causing scenes of hysteria. Peter’s brother was standing on the balcony, he held religious books and was tearing the pages, and throwing it in the air like confetti. A large group of other seniors were on the stairs, they seemed confused and lost, just like us. Suddenly I looked back at them, and saw Augustus jump from the railing of the staircase, onto the chandelier, swinging it and swinging it, he then went back on the railing, and was throwing tables and stools at the chandelier. The next thing we knew, the chandelier was on the floor, clusters of crystals were flying everywhere. I walked to a large piece of crystal. I was in disbelief, I couldn’t believe what was happening. They were lacking discipline, they were acting as animals. This was contradicting everything they taught us. I then picked up the crystal, and hurled it to the other side of the room. Relieving myself, giving up to the excitement. I then picked up a couple chairs, and broke them to pieces, and I started to throw them around. We then began laughing and howling, in order to mock the Jewish prayers. When I saw a man with a black gown, and a black hat. It was a real life Rabbi, the ones we read about in the textbooks. They were just there, in front of us. We then saw a group of Rabbi’s emerge behind him,standing at the door, just as they were about to open their mouths, before the words came, the first thrown book had knocked his hat off. We drove them out through the main door where he had to run the gauntlet of the adults outside. Through the broken doorway, I watched as they were beaten with sticks, and broken pieces of crystal. I couldn’t believe my eyes, these are the people who I see every day, acting like animals. They were the people I see every sunday respectfully praying. In my second year in the Hitler youth, I pursed the field of flight. With the breakouts of wars in Poland and Britain, no one could get passed our air force. I remember, when the air force first grabbed my attention, was when I first saw it in person. At the end of our small 10 mile hike, we heard rough, loud noises at the base point. We looked up, and we saw the Luftwaffe (air force unit), training up in the sky. I was amazed, ….. we had revolutionized the use of planes. From that point on, I was passionate and determined to become a luftwaffe pilot. When I first mentioned this passion to my general, Fritz Etzel, he arranged for me to meet with the general of the Flieger Hitlerjugend, which is the preparation for the Luftwaffe. However, there was one flaw about the Flieger Hitlerjugend, we didn’t fly planes, we used gliders, because we were too amatuer to fly planes. When I first joined the Flieger Hitlerjugend, I was very shy. In our first assessment, our instructor, instructed us towards our gliders, and taught us all how to ride them. We were all forced to show our skills to the entire class. When my turn came, the glider got hooked to the belt passage on my pants, and then came a gigantic wave of wind, which took me to the ground, and started pulling me all around the course. Every single person was laughing, .... other than the instructor. I got up, dusted myself off, and looked at the instructor, he then gave me a very dirty look, and guided the next person in line towards his glider. I was then bumped to the bottom of the class, and was then too scared to speak for the next week. The next month, I was able to get over the difficulties I was having in the class, I then rose to the top of the class easily. Everyone was looking up to me, as their role model in their class. However, I was neglected of the opportunity to join the Luftwaffe, in my first audition, as I discovered my new fear of height in my assessment. Throughout the next couple months, I solely focused on getting over my fear of heights. This sole focus, resulted in me almost failing 4 other courses. When I was assessed again 3 months later, I was neglected of the opportunity again, despite me scoring the highest mark on the assessment. I wasn’t chosen to fly in the Luftwaffe, because of my troubles in all of my other courses. The general’s believed that being in a senior position, in one of the senior departments in the military, will make it harder to focus on all of the other classes, and will give me an extra unwanted workload, and will give me extra stress. After being neglected of this opportunity twice now, I was very close to dismissing my passion. However, the only source of motivation that kept me going, was that I had nothing else left for me in the Hitler Youth, I was so far behind in all of my other classes that I needed to succeed in this field. In my third attempt, I was then selected to become a member of the Luftwaffe. My first and only flight in the air force, was in the battle of the Rhine river. This is also known as the battle of the bulge. And, it’s when Hitler decided that we needed just one final stretch, just one more attempt at triumph. In the battle of the Rhine river, I was leading the Luftwaffe in my plane, I successfully was able to take down 13 enemy planes, and avoided 21 key shots by the enemy. Despite winning this final stretch, I consider this event, a bad memory for two reasons. The first being, that even though we outstretched the allied powers in this battle, and were able to claim victory along the river. It wasn’t enough to win the war, in fact this only made the allies, especially the United States, push harder, and stronger. And secondly, I lost my best friend, and fellow pilot, in this battle. It aches me just remembering watching as the United States’ plane #14, fired at Heinz, and fired again, and fired again, until his plane went crashing to the ground…… Long Live Heinz Kettler. After the war was over, I went to live with my twin brother in Amsterdam for two years, to rid of the emotions and feelings and memories of the war. However, it was very difficult to live in Amsterdam with a German name. I thought that after one year everything will be okay, and people will ignore the fact that I was German. I waited a year, to learn that this information was false. My mother assumed that this was because of the damage that the Nazi’s had done to them during the war. I then moved to the United States hoping for a better life, away from all of the hate. When I moved to the United States, it was easier to live, however, still difficult to be able to find an employer who was willing to hire me. Once anyone got a glimpse at my name, they would avoid and neglect me. I then figured that the only way I could start a new life properly was to change my identity. I then went back to Germany and legally changed my name to Matthew Williams. I then opened a local supermarket, and ran it for over 50 years. And now, here I am, sharing my stories with the public. Looking back at the war, I believe that Hitler was a good powerful leader, however, was too stubborn. He tried to hard to prove his point, without giving a care of the damage and destruction left behind. His ignorance then led him to challenge four of the wars strongest militaries. He used a recovering nation to challenge them, which resulted in another great devastation, however, even though I wasn’t there to see it, Germany was blessed with an economic miracle in the 1950’s, thanks to the Marshall plan.
D-Day Hitler's own generals tried to assassinate him in early 1944, Nazi Germany's all-out commitment to a war that was now clearly lost. But the assassination attempt failed. Hitler took revenge by purging the General Staff of anyone deemed suspicious or exhibiting defeatist behavior. Nearly 200 officers and others were killed, in some cases, slowly changed from meat hooks Objections to using even younger boys were ignored. Hitler then resorted to seniors from the Hitler youth, for the war, their training had begun. In the Ruhr area of Germany, HJ boys practiced guerilla warfare against invading U.S. troops. In the forests, the boys stayed hidden until the tanks had passed, waiting for the foot soldiers. They would then spring up, shoot at them and throw grenades, inflicting heavy causalities, then dash away and disappear back into the forest. The Americans retaliated with furious air-attacks and leveled several villages in the surrounding area.If the boys happened to get cornered by American patrols, they often battled until the last boy was killed rather than surrender. This was their preparation, when they went out to war, all of us Hitler youth youngsters believed in the Fuhrer, and while we thought it was a bit risky using 17 and 18 year olds, rather than professionally trained troop. However, We knew the Fuhrer was never wrong. Us Hitler youth, stood on standby, waiting next to the radio to hear what was happening. We then heard that our Hitler youth, had performed exceptionally well.
Invasion of Poland The first moment, I realized that Germany’s future in the war was going to be very bright, was when Germany successfully conquered Poland. In August 1939, The German-Soviet pact was formed. This stated that, “Poland was to be partitioned between the two powers”, this then enabled Germany to take over Poland without the the Soviet intervening. On September the first 1939, Germany took over Poland, within the first 3 weeks of the attack, Poland was finished. Germany had everything in Poland, from East Prussia, to Silesia, and Slovakia, Germany attacked with over 1,000 planes, and 2,000 tanks. Our unit teared through Polish defense, broke through the border, and immediately advanced toward Warsaw. The attack first started in Warsaw, German units, heavily shelled and bombed Warsaw, which forced the Polish capital to surrender to the “European Giants.” Germany then spread through all of Poland, until all of Poland, was considered German land. Three days after the end of the invasion, the Allied powers, (France, UK, US, Soviet-Union), declared war on Germany. The allied powers moved their way through Poland, successfully taking back many cities. They then attempted going into Warsaw, however were defeated within two weeks. The German Army seemed invincible at this point. This invasion, showed the allied powers, that Germany is the strongest army. More specifically, it showed that Germany had revolutionized the Idea of air force during battle, and that no one could match Germany’s level, when it comes to air force. This was proven again, two months after this, when the Polish attempted to free themselves from German control, however German air force shot them down within the first couple days.