Die Mitläuferin: Erinnerungen einer Wehrmachtsangehörigen

TitleDie Mitläuferin: Erinnerungen einer Wehrmachtsangehörigen
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsSchmidt, Ilse
Number of Pages191

The autobiographical account by Ilse Schmidt, born 1919, is a rare document that describes the experiences of one of the nearly 500.000 young and single women who served as auxiliaries in the different branches of the German military, the Wehrmacht, during the Second World War, half of them joined the military voluntarily the other half were conscripted in the Reich Labor Service since 1941. Ilse Schmidt left her home village near Potsdam in 1940 for her auxiliary service. Her lust for adventure and a position as a staff helper in the Wehrmacht lead her to Paris. She doesn't notice much of the bloody warfare there, she experienced the glittering nightlife of the metropolis with wide, amazed eyes, and let herself be inspired by the French lifestyle. But relocations, first to Belgrade and finally to the Ukraine, allowed her to look more and more into the face of the war and the violence of the National Socialists. She witnessed shootings and deportations. Her text reflects critically on her own ignorance as a bystander.

Translated TitleThe Follower: Memoirs of a Member of the Wehrmacht
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