About the Author
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.