Instead, he was sent to the Russian Front and — defying overwhelming odds — survived to tell the tale. Among the tales that Trautmann tells, one from this period is particularly disquieting. Woken by the sound of shots, he and another kamaraden went out to explore, crawling through night woods towards beams of light, until, dazzled and appalled, they found the explanation: What the young men witnessed from their hiding place was an orderly massacre; the victims, already lying face down in their trench-graves, were methodically slaughtered: And what, Clay asks in a tone that is never judgmental , would a boy like Berni have thought about the events of which we now speak with historical hindsight?
What did he and his comrades think about the treatment of the Jews?
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What did they think about the assassination attempts on Hitler and about the deaths — strangled by piano wire — of the foiled plotters? The plotters deserved to die. He was well fed and recalls little propaganda being imposed.
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Henry Faulk who deserves a book of his own ran POW retraining along the guideline that enlightenment was more effective than coercion. None the less, the journey from POW to sporting hero produced some challenging moments. Though he now lives in Spain with his third wife, Bert describes himself as an Englishman, through and through. Get the best at Telegraph Puzzles.
Trautmann's Journey: From Hitler Youth to FA Cup Legend by Catrine Clay
A collection of the best contributions and reports from the Telegraph focussing on the key events, decisions and moments in Churchill's life. This book tells the story of the men and women of Fighter Command who worked tirelessly in air bases scattered throughout Britain to thwart the Nazis. The essential gift book for any pet lover - real-life tales of devoted dogs, rebellious cats and other unforgettable four-legged friends.
A complete edition of John James Audubon's world famous The Birds of America, bound in linen and beautifully presented in a special slipcase. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. This should not surprise. Such works as Hans Massaquoi's account of growing up black in Nazi Germany, Destined to Witness , have evoked its appeal for contemporaries far less susceptible than Trautmann, whose looks, physique and athletic talent — at 15 he won a medal in a national athletics competition whose events included "throwing the grenade" — exemplified the Aryan ideal.
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Trautmann's father was a Nazi party member, albeit one of line-of-least-resistance convenience rather than any deep conviction. The picture that emerges, traced in name changes as Berni from Bremen becomes Bernhard the Hitler Youth, Bernd the soldier and finally Bert the PoW turned footballer, is not wholly attractive. Trautmann was an unregenerate, if unreflective, Nazi sympathiser until after the war.
Even the reformed version got a Lancashire girl pregnant, then deserted her. Trautmann does not try to apologise for what he was. But they don't understand, we had no mind of our own.
Trautmann's Journey: from Hitler Youth to FA Cup Legend by Catrine Clay: review
Growing up under Hitler, you had no mind of your own. This plea of "knowing no better" is a comparatively rare direct quote. The dilemma for any biographer who, like Clay, has had extensive access to their subject is how much to quote. Too much, and it becomes a first-person stream of consciousness. Clay's sober, detailed, well-told account perhaps errs a little the other way.
It is expressed mostly in the third person, with most of the quotes coming from people recorded as having spoken to Trautmann. There are times when one would like to hear a little more directly from him about his feelings and reactions, such as when he and a comrade on the Russian front see a massacre of Jews, or when he is buried for three days in a bombed building.
His powers of detailed recall are evidently still formidable well into his 80s, but here again there is a hint of a lack of reflectiveness. Perhaps, though, this is an attribute one is better off without when serving Nazism or in an era when goalkeepers dived headlong in crowded goalmouths. Huw Richards is the author of The Red and the White: