Germany's 'last' WWI veteran dies

Discussion in 'World War I' started by syscom3, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The man believed to have been Germany's last World War I veteran has died peacefully at the age of 107.

    BBC NEWS | Europe | Germany's 'last' WWI veteran dies

    Erich Kaestner, who at 18 was sent to the Western Front but served only four months in the army, died in a Cologne nursing home, his son said.

    The death on Sunday of Louis de Cazenave, France's second-last World War I veteran, made global headlines.

    But in a country that keeps no record of its veterans, Kaestner's death on 1 January went largely unnoticed.

    "That is the way history has developed," said Peter Kaestner, the soldier's son. "In Germany, in this respect, things are kept quiet - they're not a big deal."

    Erich Kaestner was unrelated to the writer and poet of the same name.

    End of an era

    Reports in Die Welt daily and Der Spiegel magazine identified Kaestner as Germany's last World War I veteran, but verification of the claim was difficult as the country keeps no record of its war veterans.


    The German public was within a hair's breadth of never learning of the end of an era
    Der Spiegel

    In a country where the shame of the Nazi genocide and memories of two world war defeats still cast long shadows, both publications focused more on the German national psyche than the death itself.

    "The German public was within a hair's breadth of never learning of the end of an era," wrote Der Spiegel, until someone updated his death notice on the internet encyclopaedia site, Wikipedia.

    In its obituary for Kaestner, Die Welt noted: "The losers hide themselves in a state of self-pity and self denial that they happily try to mitigate by forgetting."

    Officer, judge, husband

    Born in 1900, Kaestner had joined the army when he left school in 1918.

    He rejoined the military as a Luftwaffe first lieutenant in 1939, where he served mainly as a ground support officer in France.

    After the war, he became a judge in Hanover, where his work earned him Lower Saxony's Merit Cross.

    His 75-year marriage was recognised by Germany's president in 2003 shortly before his wife, Maria, died aged 102.
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  3. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Whether he was or wasn't.....

    :salute:
     
  4. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    :salute:

    A shame that veterans are not recorded in this country....
     
  5. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  6. joy17782

    joy17782 Member

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    anybody who serves his country is a damn hero weather you wash pots or shot a weapon, and all ww1 vets get a big thumbs up from me , when i was a kid i remember my grandpa bownes he was a ww1 vet he was in the 42nd rainbow div , good guy , drank alot , but can you blame him i sure as the hell cant , heres too all vets
     
  7. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    The Rainbow Division replaced my unit in Iraq so we could go home.
     
  8. joy17782

    joy17782 Member

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    yeah there still a national gaurd div i think or army reserve, they sure got a proud history , i got my grandpas m-1903 springfield , shot true too this date, good weapon in its day , i think the rainbow div is from about 4 different states , mostly new england states , you know lobsterheads , lol ,how long was you in iraq , and how many tours did you do , my best goes out for you and thanks for serveing
     
  9. Konigstiger205

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    Its quit strange that men that where in the most danger of dying in the war both WWI and WWII lived so long....most pilot aces or submarine aces lived very long lives and these days people die at an age of 60...anyway :salute:
     
  10. joy17782

    joy17782 Member

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    my dads dad war a ww2 vet he was a combat engr and was drafted in 42 , but he had 2 kids and was 31 years old when he was drafted , why , well i think it was his heavy equipment exsperance but i always remember him being old he died 2 weeks before my dad , my dad was a nam vet , both of them died in 96
     
  11. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    14 months and 1 tour. I got out after that.

    Lets not hijack this thread off topic though.
     
  12. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I wonder how many WW1 veterans remain in the UK. I cant seem to find a reliable figure.

    One thing I still cannot fathom, is Germany's lack of records for their veterans. Considering their legendary attention to details, I cannot fathom their lack of oversite.
     
  13. magnocain

    magnocain Member

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  14. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Its not a lack of oversite. If the Germans did keep track of such things the rest of the world would scream because they were honoring "Evil"!
     
  15. wilbur1

    wilbur1 Active Member

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  16. Konigstiger205

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    Thats so bad...when I think about WW2 I like to think about Germany and Germans as Germany and Germans...sure they where nazis also but I like to see the war from the perspective of a common soldier and I hate people the when they hear about Germans the first thing that comes trough their mind is nazis...I just hate that...there are many WW2 veterans that even on the battlefield saw the Germans soldiers as simple guys like them...
     
  17. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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  18. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    He also was married to the same woman for 75 years! Pretty impressive. She died at 102. Wow.
     
  19. joy17782

    joy17782 Member

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    TIGER 205 YOUR RIGHT , most german s were not fighting for the nazis, and a vet is a vet, no matter what , and a ww1 vet, that is a page in history that is going away , we should thank them all
     
  20. Konigstiger205

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    Exactly...who knows perhaps one day politicians will fight their own wars and leave the common people to live in peace...
     
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