©2005, 2009 Bruno Ehlich
This story is especially written to search and to find the whereabouts if possible of the tankers and supporting infantry passing through and occuping Leuchtenberg via Weiden in Bavaria, Germany, approximately in April, May and June of 1945.
This story is dedicated to several friends of mine; firstly to Mr. David Jolliffe of Sydney who encouraged me for years to start writing. Then to God's gift to me. He put me in touch with two gentlemen and veterans of the Second World War. They were right there in the middle of the fighting and also as an extra bonus, right there where I was at the right time and place. They are Glenn and Vern Schmidt of California, USA. Glenn was captured and put into Stalax IXB as a POW. I like to mention here that he was put out of action by a bullet through his helmet. I am thankful he is still here today with us. Then his brother Vern, amazingly his unit was involved with the liberation and rescue of his brother at that same Stalag. Among other things he was involved with the liberation and rescue of the prisoners at the dreaded Concentration Lager Flossenburg; the same Concentration Lager I was forced to visit and to see the end results of that slaughter. It is very hard for me to judge which of the two gentlemen I have to mention here first as both of them did their utmost to make this story fit together. They spent hours of research for me and were it not for them, the first two chapters of this book would never have been written so accurately.
Also, I have to mention here a veteran and his beloved wife who put me in touch with Glenn and Vern Schmidt. Their names are Mr. and Mrs. Eberhart. Many thanks to them. Also involved were Jim and Rhoda Reid of the 90th Division Association. Their help was also very much appreciated.
So what more could I have asked for? All this enormous research and help I received from them 60 years later. Vern was at that time only ten kilometers from Leuchtenberg at a place called Vohenstraus and had seen the same bomber coming down. It had exploded near us the same day. Thankfully all of that crew bailed out and were rescued by Vern's troops. Some of those floating parts of that bomber hit the ground only meters from where I stood. So it is unbelievable that God had put us together 60 years later. Therefore I am sure that one day I will find out if the tankers and the supporting GIs who poured through our village were with the 90th Division. I think but am not exactly sure that they were supported by M4s of the 761st all-Negro Tank Battalion. Regardless, it is and was the heroic fighting spirit, dedication and unselfishness, disregard of their precious lives that saved me and my family and all those Germans from the evil the likes of "Adolf Hitler and those pathetic killers" he had with him.
And I would like to mention here that most regular Army Wehrmacht soldiers did recant that war; they were drafted up by the millions and used as cannon fodder and died for Mr. Hitler's dream.
To all those fighting men of the mighty U.S. I bow, as I surely would not be here today if it were not for them and all those Allied forces whop assisted them.
I thank Glenn's and Vern's lovely wives for putting up with my interruption and ever-coming questions. I also thank my wife Josie for putting up with me for years. Telling her the same story over and over again. It's a wonder she never put me away. For this I love her.
Then of course I thank Mrs. Evelyn Koop, my typist and editor of this my story. She must be blessed with patience and love as it must have been very hard to create a readable story out of my unprofessional mumbo jumbo. God bless her for all the work she's done. I hope that one day I can meet her and thank her for what she did.
So please read my story which is written for all of you, as I have read hundreds of your fighting stories. I am amazed we are still here to remember. Also still to remember all those who never returned. For those I pray!
In the name of God Jehovah, God bless you all.
Bruno Ehlich, Sergeant (retired) Royal Australian Air Force