Witness to the Storm
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On June 6, 1944, Werner T. Angress parachuted down from a C-47 into German-occupied France with the 82nd Airborne Division. Nine days later, he was captured behind enemy lines and, concealing his identity as a German-born Jew, became a prisoner of war. Eventually, he was freed by US forces, rejoined the fight, crossed Europe as a battlefield interrogator, and participated in the liberation of a concentration camp. Although he was an American soldier, less than ten years before he had been an enthusiastically patriotic German-Jewish boy. Rejected and threatened by the Nazi regime, the Angress family fled to Amsterdam to escape persecution and death, and young Angress then found his way to the United States. In Witness to the Storm, Angress weaves the spellbinding story of his life, including his escape from Germany, his new life in the United States, and his experiences in World War II. A testament to the power of perseverance and forgiveness, Witness to the Storm is the compelling tale of one man's struggle to rescue the country that had betrayed him.


Personal Notes

1. Family Life in Berlin, 1920-1936

2. Early Childhood and School Days

3. The Youth Movement

4. Gross Breesen Training Farm for Emigrants, 1936-1937

5. The Road into Exile, 1937-1939

6. United States - Hyde Farmlands, 1939-1941

7. Service in the Army and War

8. From the Battle of the Bulge to the End of the War, 1944-1945




Publié par
Date de parution 01 mai 2019
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253039163
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 3 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0032€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Praise for Previous Edition
This autobiography deserves to be placed next to Victor Klemperer s I Will Bear Witness as a vivid account of the Nazi years. In plain and lucid language Angress recounts the gradual disillusionment of a Jewish schoolboy in Berlin after 1933. No less strikingly portrayed is his experience as an American soldier in the Second World War, parachuted into France on D-Day, wounded in battle, and shocked at the liberation of concentration camps. Readers, whether professional historians or not, will find in these pages the unforgettable depiction of a turbulent life.
-Allan Mitchell,
Professor Emeritus of History University of California, San Diego .
This is an extraordinary memoir, self-ironic and humane, dealing with one of the darkest chapters of twentieth century history. A Jewish historian of Germany recounts his privileged childhood in Berlin, his flight to exile in the United States, and his experiences as a soldier in the liberation of Europe. In a lively style, these recollections recreate a lost Jewish-German world, destroyed by Nazi racism, while reaffirming a deep commitment to rational inquiry and personal forgiveness.
-Konrad H. Jarausch,
Lurcy Professor of European Civilization in the Department of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill .
Witness to the St o rm


Werner T. Angress
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
Copyright 2012 by Miriam Angress,
Percy Angress, Nadine Angress, and Dan Angress
Indiana University Press edition 2019
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
LCCN: 2012908730
ISBN 978-0-253-03912-5 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-0-253-03913-2 (paperback)
ISBN 978-0-253-03914-9 (ebook)
1 2 3 4 5 24 23 22 21 20 19
To my deceased parents, Ernst and Henny Angress, dedicated in loving memory
Personal Notes
Family Life in Berlin, 1920-1936
Early Childhood and School Days
The Youth Movement
Gross Breesen Training Farm for Emigrants, 1936-1937
The Road into Exile, 1937-1939
United States-Hyde Farmlands, 1939-1941
Service in the Army and War
From the Battle of the Bulge to the End of the War, 1944-1945
Diary covering jump on Normandy (June 6, 1944) through time in Prisoner of War camp (June 15-27, 1944)
Travel Authorization into Holland by Major General Gavin, November 21, 1944
Article from Richmond Times-Dispatch , June 4, 1945
I would probably never have written these childhood memories if my four children (especially), my two brothers, as well as several friends had not repeatedly asked for them. I have confined myself to the first, formative twenty-five years of my life because I cannot imagine that many readers are interested in my academic career. But I grew up during the years of the Weimar Republic and the twelve years that the Thousand Year [German] Empire lasted, which included the war years from 1939 to 1945. It seemed important to me to communicate my experiences as a Zeitzeuge, or contemporary witness, to this period in history.
A number of friends were kind enough to help me while I worked on the manuscript, and then later, after I had a draft, to make corrections and suggest changes. So I would first like to thank Trude Maurer for reading section by section and carefully correcting the manuscript. Helpful suggestions came from a number of friends: Gisela Bittner, Ernst Cramer, Silvia Diekmann, Dagmar von Doetinchem, Astrid Eckert, Elma Gaasbeek, Christine Granger, Konrad H. Jarausch, Gabriele Krebs, Gabriele Jonelat-Kr schet, Cornelia R. Levine, Michael Maurer, Rita R hr, Katherine R rup, Andrea Schultz, Angelika Tramitz and Werner Warmbrunn. Also, Claudia Angress, Wolfgang Benz, Andrea Brill, Belinda Cooper, Angelika Kipp and Fred and Sally Tubach took an active interest. Finally, last but not least, I want to thank the Kampe family in particular for their efforts: Angelika and Jonas for their comments and Norbert for his assistance in getting the manuscript ready for publication.
- Werner T. Angress
Berlin, 2005
This memoir was originally published in German in 2005. * Tom Angress always planned to make an English version available to his relatives and friends, and he worked on a translation during the last years of his life. After his death in 2010, our family decided to publish the English edition in the United States, and we collaborated on its preparation. Tom would have liked how the family worked together on this project, either directly, by contributing time and funds, or by clearing away other work connected with his estate so that a group could focus on the book.
A few of the ways family and other loved ones participated: by organizing the historical photographs and appendices (including the diary Tom kept during his jump on Normandy and brief stay in a German P.O.W. camp); by going through the copyedits to check that Tom s distinctive voice had not been lost; by asking Tom, before his death, and others afterwards, to answer questions raised by the copyeditor (because none of us is familiar with paratrooper protocol, or knows what it was like to be part of a Jewish youth group under the Nazis); by brainstorming about a title and subtitle for the English edition; and by translating a few pieces (frontmatter, mostly), that Tom hadn t tackled himself.
We did this out of love, but also because we believe that this volume will be interesting and valuable to readers who never knew him.
We thank Helen Robinson for her thoughtful and elegant design and Kay Robin Alexander for her deep generosity (for proofing the text, and going far beyond her initial pledge to just read through the manuscript). We are grateful to Alex Martin for beautifully copyediting this edition and for suggesting that the family add a foreword. Alex said that he developed affection for Tom, whom he never met or spoke to, through working on this text. He started referring to Tom as the Zeitzeuge (contemporary witness), which is how Tom described himself in the German acknowledgments. That is, really, the point of this book: to share what he witnessed and the part he played.
- Tom Angress s children
United States, 2012
* immer etwas abseits: Jugenderinnerungen eines j dischen Berliners 1920-1945 (Berlin: Edition Hentrich).
Personal Notes
One of the gifts of my father s memoirs was the portrait it provided me of a grandfather I d never met. My father s increasing closeness to his father as he grew older mirrored my own maturing relationship to my father over the years. His absorption of Ernst Angress beloved Prussian values- Be honest and straightforward, and behave toward others in a way your parents would be proud of -was reflected in my adoption of those same values, two generations removed. My father lost the companionship of his father at seventeen. I was luckier; I enjoyed his company for over half a century.
- Percy Angress (one of Tom s sons)
Once, when I visited my father in Germany, he took me to a Berlin public library. We both loved Wim Wenders movie, Wings of Desire , and he knew I d be moved to see the library that in the film was filled with angels leaning tenderly over the library patrons, whispering in their ears. After reading this memoir, I thought again of that scene, because he was in danger in many ways during his life, but something kept him safe. He speaks candidly, in the memoir, about his mistakes and struggles with his flaws-the Nazis were one tremendous danger he faced, and another threat was his own darkness-but he managed so often to approach the world with kindness, courage, humor, and decency. Maybe angels leaned over him.
- Miriam Angress (one of Tom s daughters)

Family Life in Berlin, 1920-1936
In early 1990, only a few months after the Wall came down and not long after my return from almost fifty years in the United States, I went back for the first time to where the private clinic had stood, at Genthiner Strasse 12, Berlin. I was born in this clinic in June 1920. It was destroyed during the Second World War, and now another building stands in its place. To the right and left and across the street are now large furniture stores, which make Genthiner Strasse look quite different than at the time of my birth. It was strange to see the place where I was born. As a historian I noted that the clinic had been near Bendlerstrasse, today Stauffenbergstrasse, where everything went wrong on July 20, 1944 [the date of the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler via a bomb in Lieutenant Colonel von Stauffenberg s briefcase].
Of three brothers, I was the only one born in a hospital. My two younger brothers-Fritz Pet

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