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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Sepp Allerberger was really the top sniper", April 9, 2006
This review is from: Sniper on the Eastern Front: The Memoirs of Sepp Allerberger, Knight's Cross (Hardcover)
SNIPER ON THE EASTERN FRONT - THE MEMOIRS OF SEPP ALLEREBERG was written by Albrecht Wacker, who had interviewed the sniper and translated the original story into English. When I began reading the book, I was apprehensive that the story was all made up because the sniper wrote his story using the psuedonym Josef Sepp Allerberger.

The story is shocking, sad, brutal, and historically accurate. The young sniper lived a charm life and lived to tell of his experiences on the Eastern Front.

I believe that Sepp Allerberg was actually the top German sniper Obergefreiter MATHIAS HETZENAUER. Is it a coincidence that both Hetzenauer were born in 1924 (Hetzenauer in December, "Allerberger" in September)? Both were Austrian and both served in the same unit, 3.G.D./Gebirgsjager-Regiment 144.

"Allerberger" writes that he received his Knights Cross on 20 April 1945, but according to DIE RITTERKREUZTRAGER 1939-1945 by Gerhard von Seemen, which lists ALL Knights Cross recipients, no one from the unit received a Knights Cross on this date. However, there was a SEPP DRAXENBERBER who received it on 17 April 1945, the same day as Hetzenauer. Draxenberger was SS - Hptscharfhr. zugf im SS Pz. Rgt. 5 "Wiking." Just substitute "Aller" for "Draxen." Interesting, isn't it?

And there is more. Hetzenauer was wounded in the head by an artillery blast on 6 November 1944; "Allerberger" in late September or early October.

Towards the end of the story, "Allerberger" makes it back to his hometown. Hetzenauer is captured by the Soviets and spent 5 years in a POW camp.

It is rather unfortunate that this book was written under a pseudonym, but I can understand why. Since Hetzenauer died a few years ago, I hope that writer Albrecht Wacker follows up with more photos, and a revised title: SNIPER ON THE EASTERN FRONT - THE MEMOIRS OF MATHIAS HETZENAUER.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 23, 2007 4:39:01 PM PDT
Mr.Sakaida, you are confusing 2 different top German snipers of WWII.
In 1967, an Austrian Army Captain and an authority on military sniping, Hans Widhofner, interviewed both Matthias Hetzenauer of Tyrol and Sepp Allerberger of Salzburg, plus another German sniper, one Helmut Wirnsberger of Styria. All 3 were members of the third mountain division. The interview reveals, for example, that only Mr.Allerberger used a captured Soviet rifle( for a while), the others used only the German K98 and G43 with different telescopic sights.
Matthias Hetzenauer was the top scoring German sniper of the war with 345 certified kills.
Sepp Allerberger was the second highest scoring German sniper with 257 certified kills.

Best regards,

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2007 7:38:25 AM PDT
Luca - so what you are saying is that this fellow Sepp actually did exist and the name is correct - even though the prologue in the book states that the name Sepp is not the person's real name? Please confirm - thanks....Iain

Posted on Nov 28, 2008 9:41:03 AM PST
Y. Kan says:
Allerberger mentions Hetzenauer in the book himself... read it again. Sepp is a shortform for Joseph. His full name is Joseph Allerberger.

Your conclusion that the book psuedonym is incorrect I believe. The Knights Cross issuance mix up is explained in the book, he said himself that it was a makeshift knights cross made with an ironcross 2nd class because they did not have any Knights Crosses available at the front. The paperwork was sent in, and approved, and he had a copy printed in the book. However if you look at the date, it was several days before the fall of the Reich, and the paperwork was probably lost in Berlin.

For your information, the suffix of Berger in Germanic last names is very prevalent, so I doubt your link there is relevant.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2013 6:28:19 AM PDT
Yes he certainly did exist and this book is a collation of interviews with Mr Wacker who decided to write his collation as a first person autobiography. His real name is Josef -'Sepp'- Allerberger. Sepp is a common diminutive in German of Josef. See for example SS General 'Sepp' Dietrich.

Posted on Jun 27, 2014 2:22:34 PM PDT
This reminds me of the Sven Hassel controversy.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2014 3:48:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 1, 2014 3:49:32 AM PDT
There isn't really much of a controversy about Sven Hassel - who it seems was actually Danish and spent much of the war in his homeland, gleaning snippets of information from returning veterans of the Russian Front and basing his 'accounts' on them.
But the 'controversy' about Allerberger does remind me of that concerning Guy Sajer - who wrote of his time in Russia with the Grossdeutschland Division but who was not remembered by many of those in the Division during the time he claims he was. But as time goes by more credence is given to his memoir titled 'The Forgotten Soldier'

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2014 11:43:35 PM PDT
Whoever Sven Hassel was, he must have made a killing on his books. Wikipedia says he sold 53 million worldwide, 15 million in Great Britain alone. I love them. I've got all of them.

As to 'Sniper', I thought it was an excellent read. I can't believe 10 people gave it one star.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2014 1:39:35 AM PDT
Tried to find out how many books Sajer (a psuedonym actually) has sold but the ole Wiki does not say. Suffice to say however that even if it is a fraud it is quoted quite often by acknowledged authorities----
such as Alan Clark - author of "Barbarossa" and several others.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2014 10:32:58 PM PDT
Well if you think Hassel is a good read then you will thoroughly enjoy Sajer's 'The Forgotten Soldier' I can assure you.
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