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Hitler's Soldier in the U.S. Army, Hitler's Soldier in the U.S. Army, 0817352880, 0-8173-5288-0, 978-0-8173-5288-2, 9780817352882,

Hitler's Soldier in the U.S. Army
An Unlikely Memoir of World War II
by Werner H. Von Rosenstiel

Quality Paper
2006. 344 pp.
Illus.
978-0-8173-5288-2
Price:  $34.95 s

A German lawyer and member of Hitler's army who embraced new loyalties.

Born into landed Prussian nobility, Werner H. Von Rosenstiel lived the largely predictable life of his class until two great changes intersected to forever alter his worldview:  he attended college in Ohio for a year, and the Nazis came to power in Germany.  Von Rosenstiel was drafted into the Wehrmacht, the German army, and had finished his legal education when tthe rising tide of Nazi madness and his affection for an American girl in Cincinnati brought him to resolve to leave Gernmany and return to the United States.

Von Rosenstiel's memoir is a straightforward and evocative account of this young man's mixture of ambition, love , and anti-Nazi repugnance that convinced him to forego a promising professional career in the Third Reich for the uncertain future of another country and a new language on the eve of the Second World war.  After Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941, and the United States entered the war, Von Rostenstiel immediately became an enemy alien as well as subject to the U.S. draft.  He was sent to a camp in Pennsylvania where the U.S. Army stockpiled recruits it could not trust.  Make-work assignments, loads of KP and laundry details, camp snitches, and hilariously inept FBI interrogations in an idyllic Pennsylvania countryside alternately alarmed, bored, and frustated Von Rosenstiel, until he was finally able to convince the authorities that he was no danger, that indeed his German-language skills and legal training might be assets.

Finally sent overseas to serve, Von Rosenstiel was promoted to second lieutenant and attached to legal units that worked their way eastward into a collapsing Third Reich.  He later interpreted for Hermann Goering at the Nurember trials and served on the Allied team prosecuting Nazi leaders for their war claims.

 


Werner H. Von Rosenstiel is a retired attorney living in St. Petersburg, Florida.
"With a wry sense of humor and a narrative that is conversational in tone, Von Rosenstiel paints a vivid picture of his years in the army.  His admiration for American democracy is clearly evident [as he] offers insights into the everyday experience of American soldiers. . . and humorous accounts of featherbedding, convoluted bureaucracy, and the snafus of army life.  Certain sections of the book ar particularly evocative and poignant:  the visits to a spa in Belgium and the tomb of Charlemagne in Aachen; the burial ceremony at the concentration camp of Woebbelin; the reunion with his famiyl; the shock at seeing the devastated cities of Hamburg and Nuremberg."-- Thomas L. Sakmyster, University of Cincinnati

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To the Far Side of Hell
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