You tell us that you did not ask to join the Waffen SS, but rather the U-boats — whose recruits were also notoriously hardline Nazis, by the way. The historian Joachim Fest does not believe this story, and neither do I. (He says he would not buy a used car from you now, and who can blame him?)
By the time you volunteered in 1943, it was clear to all but those blinded by ideology that Germany was losing the war. By joining up in the Waffen SS, you were joining the Nazi elite, a band of bloody brothers who believed they were destined to rule Europe. They did not take just anyone.
You tell us in your interview that you wrote your first, unpublished novel around this time, now conveniently lost. It was set in the idealised medieval world of Teutonic knights that, as you omit to mention, was a favourite of Goebbels's propaganda films. You never finished it, you tell us, because after the first chapter all the characters were dead.
You make light of it, but it is further proof that you, along with many German teenagers, were steeped in the Nazi death cult. You and your comrades were careless of how many people you killed, for to you they were scarcely human. Your mentality was not unlike that of the Islamist suicide bombers of today.
The last photograph of Hitler shows him decorating lads like you. All the evidence points to you having been not only a fanatical Nazi but a dangerous one too, eager to wear the death's head insignia of the SS.
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