“Shadow Of War” Extended!

Today was the last day of my exhibition “THE SHADOW OF WAR: German Memories Of WWII”. It is amazing how quickly three weeks fly by!

I’m very happy to announce that because of the positive reception and the great interest the show was extended and will now end on the 20th of January 2011! 🙂

There was also great press coverage for the show in Germany. Kira Melzer who works for DPA (German Press Agency/the Reuters of Germany!) wrote an article that hit the wires Monday morning. The same day I got an e-mail from “Bild Zeitung” Germany’s biggest newspaper saying that they want to run the story. I was overjoyed! It would have meant a huge audience.

Yesterday I found out that they had changed their mind. It took me two days to recover. It was a very close call and after working so hard on this project for so long and financing it out of my own pocket it was very hard for me to get a yes and then a no. But I feel better today and I’m ready to focus on what I do have, an exhibition that runs for another month.

Let’s celebrate this with a a short excerpt of my interview with Lothar Scholz who enlisted in the Army at age 16. These are his first experiences in battle:

WARNING! Please don’t keep on reading if you have problems with violence. Mr. Scholz very vividly describes what it meant to be a soldier in WWII!

When we were drafted we didn’t even get a decent uniform, but instead anything they were able to collect up was given to us. When we first went into combat we didn’t even know if we hit anybody. I could see people next to me were getting shot. My school friend, Dietmar Steinhauer had a grenade hanging from his belt. A bullet hit the grenade, it exploded and ripped him apart. His intestines were sticking out and the uniform was smoldering. I was so shocked, I took all the intestines and stuffed them back into his body and screamed, “Medic, medic, medic,” and the medic came and threw a compression bandage at me. What was I supposed to do with it? I jumped up and in a state of shock, started to run and kept on running until I was out of breath. I kept on running, kept on running until some soldiers stopped me mistaking me for a deserter. I pleaded with them that I was not deserting and not to shoot me. I told them how I had just lost my best friend and they let me go and told me to “get a new gun and cue up again,” and so I went on.

Then we got into this crazed battle of encirclement and annihilation. On top of the German tanks there were refugees — women and children. There were Russian soldiers in the houses. They shot at us and we shot back. The tanks ripped apart the upper floors of the buildings until one of the tanks got hit. The refugees fell off and the other tanks (we only had four or five left — that’s all we had) ran over the women and children that had fallen off the tank. They screamed and from the side you could see the squashed limbs come out. At lightning speed we dug one-person manholes on the side of the street and ducked down inside them. The tanks ran over us and one dead SS man fell into my hole and the blood ran into my open collar. When the tanks were gone I started running (we were still trying to get to the American lines). Some Russian soldiers caught me, ordered me to take off my clothes and beat me until I lost consciousness. Then we were marched to a Prisoner of War camp on foot. I was discharged after five months and I walked back home to Fuerstenwalde.

This is only a short part of his story. Later he will spend nine years in a labor camp in Siberia.

 

 

 

“Shadow Of War extended!” Berlin/Germany/Lothar Scholz wearing his camp jacket /January 2010

Please check out my website at carstenfleck.com

Advertisements

About this entry