When Hans was forced into German military service

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by BikerBabe, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. BikerBabe

    BikerBabe Active Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,291
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Yes, got one.
    Location:
    Denmark.
    Home Page:
    Translated approximately by me from an article at Berlingske.dk: Da Hans blev tvunget i tysk tjeneste - Danmark

    When Hans was forced into german military service

    [​IMG]

    To the left: As a signal man in German uniform, Hans von Vultejus survived both the Ardennes, the retreat from the Russians, and a POV camp. Photo: Privately owned.


    A life with swing music and partying in the upper class circles of Copenhagen was exchanged with a german uniform and almost three years of struggling to stay alive for Hans von Vultejus.

    By Christian Brøndum
    Sunday april 4th, 2010, 14:35


    It was almost half past five in the afternoon, and 18-year old Hans von Vultejus had returned home on the cold and wet December night 1942 on Østerbro (Copenhagen city part), from his job at a textile grocer. The shoes had just been wrung off his long feet, when the doorbell rang. Outside, two german soldiers were standing.
    ”I thought by myself: What the hell do they want here?”
    “Are you Hans Joachim Georg Wilhelm von Vultejus?”
    “Yes, that’s me”. What else were I supposed to say?
    “We’ve got a military draft order for you, sir.”

    Oh damn, they’ve discovered me, then. My family and I had thought and hoped that they might have forgotten that I existed. We were well aware that the risk existed, that I could get drafted, because I was a german citizen.”

    That’s how World War II began in earnest for the young danish man, who had grown up in the uppper circles of the Copenhagen bourgeoisie, and who spent his Saturdays and a lot of the other days with meeting friends, going to dinners and balls, always in a tuxedo. He had worn out his first tuxedo from when he was confirmed, until he had to get a new one at age 17.

    On april 9th, 1940, Hans von Vultejus woke from the noise of the german bombers flying in over Copenhagen. Like many others, he thought that the planes were on their way to Norway, but when it dawned on him that german troops had blocked off Østerport Station, he grabbed his bicycle and ran over there.

    The Germans had set up machine gun positions, and a few hundred civilians had gathered to see what was going on. After a while a couple of maids walked over to the Germans, carrying trays with coffee and buns. “I think they used silver trays”, he says today, and remembers his amazement over the fact that no one reacted with hostility towards the German soldiers. One took it as an experience, a break from everyday life.

    After a little while, an officer from the Royal Danish Life Guards passed on his way to the Life Guards barracks in Gothersgade. He was carrying his pistol in his belt, and some of the onlookers yelled at him: “Fight for your country!” “That upset me a lot. The people who were yelling were the same people who had voted for the Social Democrats and the Radical Party, who had made sure that we didn’t have a defense that could put up a decent fight on april 9th,” he says.

    But life went on, and the parties continued.
    “It was wild”, Hans von Vultejus recalls, and he remembers better than most people, because he wrote down what he did together with who, in his little calendar books year in and year out.
    The calendar books later became diaries, who followed him through the years as a german soldier; the books were with von Vultejus though the offensive in the Ardennes in 1944-45, and also with him in the last progress in Hungary. The books followed him fleeing from the Russian Red Army, through to life in an American POV camp, and all the way back home to Copenhagen in November 1945.

    The diaries is the base of a book manuscript – which completely incomprehensibly hasn’t yet found a publisher – about a young Dane, who gets caught up by the fact that his father was a German officer. The parents had gotten divorced, and Hans von Vultejus had returned to Copenhagen with his mother as a 5-year old in 1929. Back then you had to wait 15 years, before you could apply for a Danish citizenship, plus both countries had to agree upon the citizenship. A German yes to let go of Hans von Vultejus in those years, where Germany had hard use for any able-bodied young man, was unthinkable.

    The thought of fleeing to Sweden was tried, when the draft had destroyed the hope of being forgotten by the germans. “Today people think that there were resistance fighters in every dairy shop, that you could turn to for help, but it wasn’t like that at all. We butted our heads against a wall”, Hans von Vultejus tells.
    Instead, the young Dane decided to do everything he could to stay alive.
    That the Germans was losing the war, he didn’t have any doubts about, since the USA had joined the war on December 7th, 1941.
    So at the meeting with the drafts board at Bådsmandsgade Barracks – modern-day Christiania – he applied for the German Luftwaffe in the hope that he would spend time “peddling bombs at a German air force base”.
    Every time he had the chance to extend his education or a disease, he grabbed the chance in the hope of postponing front line service.

    Hans tried his hand at an air force school, but finally his Luftwaffe-company was sent off to join the Waffen-SS. Hans von Vultejus objected like many others did, against signing a declaration or oath of allegiance, that stated that they were all volunteers. The boys erased that particular part of the declaration, before they – under the threat of punishment – signed the rest.

    The mandatory tattoo, showing one’s blood type, and placed on the underside of one’s left upper arm, as all SS-soldiers were supposed to get, Hans avoided by slipping from the line of waiting soldiers, and into the line of those soldiers who had already had the tattoo.

    Hans von Vultejus and his diaries survived the Ardennes as a signal man, because he could speak English, and he could be used to listen to and translate the allied radio traffic. He survived walking unknowingly through a mine field and many other life-threatening situations, among them the escape from the advancing Russian troops after the Hungarian campaign through Austria, to an American POV-camp.

    When Hans finally got out of the POV camp, he only weighed about 50 kilo. (approx. 100 pounds)
    When the hunger was at its worst, he could reach around his own waist with both his hands.
    The story of the American starvation of the German POVs is one of the lesser known and controversial aftermaths of WW2, that Hans von Vultejus survived – thanks to his knowledge of the English language, and his will to act.

    His language skills helped him again.
    As a translator for the Americans he had contacts, that the German girls at the camp brothel – who were prisoners, too – had the use for, to extend their circle of clients to the American soldiers, too.
    As a middle man, Hans von Vultejus secured himself some chocolate, three or four packs of cigarettes, and some canned bacon, until the Americans themselves took over the business.
    “I’ve got to admit that I’m not very proud of my part in that particular case. What if someone starts calling me a pimp?” he says today.

    Hans von Vultejus started again as a trainee at his old work place, after two weeks of “holiday”, in December 1945. A few years later he married a secretary from the British embassy, Olive, and together, they had a daughter and a normal life.

    The first eight or nine years, it could be hard to fall sleep, when the thoughts of the war sent the adrenalin coursing through his body. It was all about pushing the memories away.
    Outwardly, Hans von Vultejus kept a low profile, too – because how do you explain that a young man from Copenhagen and a master at swing dance ends up as a forcibly drafted soldier in the Waffen-SS?
    After his retirement at age 60, Hans von Vultejus continued working as a guide on some of the sightseeing buses in Copenhagen, for English and German tourists visiting Copenhagen.

    He still works a couple of times a week, even though he has been seriously ill, and has trouble walking now. But if you take the blows in the order that they come and stop whining, you’ll get through eventually, even though you’re 86 years old.
    That attitude brought him through the war. It still works.

    --------------------------
     
  2. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,592
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Hurst, Texas
    :salute: Making the best of a decidedly crappy situation. Respect! :salute:
     
  3. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    15,723
    Likes Received:
    339
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Auto Restoration
    Location:
    Abingdon, VA.
    I agree with RA.:salute: Thank you for the translation Maria. Nice work mam.:thumbright:
     
  4. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    23,053
    Likes Received:
    994
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Animal Control Officer
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    And nobody will publish this?? I believe it would be a fantastic read. Thanks for translating maria!
     
  5. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,530
    Likes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    CNC Machinist/Programmer
    Location:
    Corona, California
    Home Page:
    Thanks Maria.
    It's amazing that the story can't find a publisher.


    Wheels
     
  6. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,592
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Hurst, Texas
    If it were translated into English, I bet there would be a publisher or two in the US who'd take a look at it.
     
  7. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    41,750
    Likes Received:
    518
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Doctor
    Location:
    Portsmouth / Royal Deeside, UK
    Home Page:
    Interesting story , thanks for the translation.
     
Loading...

Share This Page