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Black Edelweiss: A Memoir of Combat and Conscience by a Soldier of the Waffen-SS Paperback – July, 2002
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"A strong description of a young man's burning idealism to serve his country and how this idealism is later shattered." -- Swedish State Institute for Living History, August 2005
"Highly recommended...complements Into the Mountains Dark and The Good Soldier." -- Armchair General Magazine, September 2005
"Highly valuable because of its grass-roots perspective of the war and the Third Reich." -- Svenska Dagbladet (Swedish Daily Newspaper), 2 June 2004
"[This book possesses] an authenticity lacking in works writtenand also adjustedlong after the war." -- Gefle Dagblad ("Gefle [Sweden] Daily Newspaper"), 21 June 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
And the author has listened to my story of being ambushed and captured, then wounded by artillery shrapnel, and surviving a severed artery because a German soldier risked his life while carrying me unconscious to medical aid.
As I read the fascinating Black Edelweiss I found myself frequently comparing my situation as a 17 year old youth in rural Kansas with the author's thoughts and activities halfway around the world. Black Edelweiss has given me a new perspective on both the German military and the citizens of Germany during the early `40s.
I found once I started reading it was difficult to put the book aside.
This memoir is interesting on a variety of levels. One is the account of mountain infantry training the author received as a young volunteer for the Waffen SS. Far from politically indoctrinated fanatics, we see an elite military organization preparing men for combat in modern war. I suspect that the emphasis on political and racial indoctrination was more a product of the pre-war years, when the Waffen SS was seen as a force against potential enemies within the Reich, not after say 1941 when large numbers of new replacements were needed to man an expanding number of divisions fighting in foreign theaters of operations. That and the fact that many foreign volunteers, some from ethnic groups lower on the SS pecking order, where filling the ranks of these formations as well. The emphasis went from "elite order of racial Uebermenschen" to "cadre of the common European struggle against Bolshevism". This latter attitude is mentioned by the author numerous times and obviously was one of his main reasons for joining the organization.
On another level is the sociological perspective of various views common among Germans during 1941-3. He sees his own class in school as divided between the idealists and the pragmatists.Read more ›
His story opens in 1938 when the author was a young boy of 13. He is caught up in the hopes and fears of his parents and other elders; the nation's need for economic recovery, and a great fear of Bolshevism and the Soviet Union.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've read many German memoirs during the war, but this is the first to provide a glimpse of the war inside Finland. Excellent read!Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
It is fairly rare to hear the voice of soldiers of the axis powers. History has deemed them "the bad guys" and their account of the war has been brushed aside in favour of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lewis Woolston
History always seems to repeat itself. Young men from different countries marched into war with a sense of duty and patriotism. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Raymond Lui
Dull and uneven. How can a book about experiences in the Waffen SS be so drab? There may be a few interesting facts revealed here, but I wouldn't go through it.Published 2 months ago by A Guidice