Veteran Stories:
Gunther Frederick Schliewinsky

Air Force

  • Gunther Schliewinsky, July 1943.

    Gunther F. Schliewinsky
  • Gunther Schliewinsky inside the airplane over the North Atlantic, 1944.

    Gunther F. Schliewinsky
  • Unit specific postcard (below) and Gunther Schliewinsky's Squadron Patch representing anti-submarine reconaissance patrols that he conducted from Norway against allied shipping on the Murmansk run, Russia.

    Gunther F. Schliewinsky
  • Gunther Schliewinsky's Log Book, 1943.

    Gunther F. Schliewinsky
  • Badge of Flight Engineer, 1943 (right); Ruban of Iron Cross 2nd Class; Air Force Sign; Badge of Twenty Five Flights over Enemy Territoria, 1944.

    Gunther F. Schliewinsky
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"We didn’t know where the front was or how, what the situation was because they kept us very stupid. They always told about, we’re going to get new weapons and we’re going to win the war."

Transcript

If you wanted to be a pilot, you had to go first to the Russian front for a year because the schools were near all filled up. There was only chance you had was flight engineer, so I applied there and I eventually ended up in Saxony [Germany] and had a training, as a flight engineer and, and rear gunner. We were supposed to go to Italy but we had one guy, he went to the prostitutes there and they got [exposed to] diphtheria. So all our group was quarantined for a while and after quarantine, nobody got sick but they had an opening in Norway, so they sent us to Norway. So we had to report on the weather and where we, the convoys went to Murmansk but at that time, they had already aircraft carriers there and we couldn’t get very close to it because we had no weapons there, and we only could take little bit sometimes pictures. We had armament but it was only for defense but nothing in front. My pilot, he volunteered as night fighter [aircraft adapted for use at night or in conditions of poor visibility] but night fighter only needed a pilot and a radio man. So I was [not needed] and actually lost my crew there and I was sent back to Germany again. And in Germany, Russian front get closer and closer to Germany and the oil they had in Romania but then they lost it also they had no more oil there, no more gasoline, so they had found a cistern where they made gasoline out of coal. But there was a big factory in East Germany but finally, it was bombarded by the British or the English and Americans and they had no more fuel there. So we couldn’t fly anymore. So even they had airplanes but they had no fuel anymore. So they sent us to Czechoslovakia and stayed there for a while and then we went again to East Germany, so I actually was there, since that time I was just moving around there and, because the leadership was already here against Hitler they wanted to go to … they moved troops around but there was no really, as a soldier, you had no choice, wherever they send you, you had to go. Actually, we didn’t know anything because they didn’t tell us anything. We didn’t know where the front was or how, what the situation was because they kept us very stupid. We didn’t know much. They always told about, we’re going to get new weapons and we’re going to win the war. Then came the 8th of May in 1945, that was the end of the war there, tried to get from Austria to Bavaria and we finally made it but we came into the American prison camp and I stayed there for a while and there was no food there and no eating, no shelter there, we just lived in the fields there and look around barbed wire and American guards and the Americans didn’t give us anything. So finally, they start discharging people and I was discharged and came to my friend’s place, he lived in Middle [central] Germany and still they were American-occupied there, but the Americans, they went away and Russians came in there because according to the [Potsdam] Agreement, it was a Russian zone. So then I had to work way out in a factory but this factory was taken over by the Russians and we had to work there for 24 hours a day and there was no Sundays; the Russians didn’t believe in Sunday but there was only German personnel there and we built machines like, and all the machines went to Russia. Well, I was very young at the time and it didn’t bother me so much but except when I was in prison camp really, then you realize that you, you were just nothing, you had no freedom, nothing. They had a barbed wire around and had guards there but was nothing in the prison camp.
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