My experience of war at the age of 13 in my home village of Uihel

by Johann Schimmel (translated by Diana Lambing)

In September 1944 a column of Russian soldiers marched from Schanderhas (Alexanderhausen) cemetery, over the railway line and along the path across the meadow on the right-hand side, where there was a drinking trough for the cattle and horses, towards Uihel. The German soldiers, i.e. the spy troops of six or eight motorcycles with side-cars, lay hidden in the ditches where the meadow ended and the arable land began and shot at the Russian troops with machine guns. These Russians ran back to Schanderhas village. The Germans' ammunition ran out and they turned back to Uihel. Another Russian column came through the trees along the road to Uihel and lay in ditches along the short corner of the main street, but they did not shoot at the Germans, but let them carry on to Bogarosch instead. The Russians had not known that the Germans had run out of ammunition.

Meanwhile, the German infantry came from the direction of Grossjetscha towards Uihel. At the church, Sepp Schütz's grandfather, whose business premises was the corner house on the left, gave the key to the church door to the German officer, who climbed up into the church tower, opened the shuters of the window which looked out towards Pesac, and saw through his binoculars that the Russians were lying underneath or behind the bridge. The officer called out, "Machine gunners, lie down to the left and right of the church!". As we lived next to the village hall, we looked through the fence together with our mother. The officer called out, "Civilians, get away from the fence!" and he called to his soldiers, "Fire away!" The Russians were already on the street near to where Mari Pitzer now lives. They jumped over the wall and ran through the garden into the field of maize. One dead Russian soldier lay beneath the bridge and was buried in Uihel cemetery.

This was my experience of war at the age of 13 in my home village of Uihel

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