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Fur Volk and Fuhrer

The Memoir of a Veteran of the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler
Narrated by: James Foster
Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (146 ratings)

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Summary

Like many Germans, Berlin schoolboy Erwin Bartmann fell under the spell of the Zeitgeist cultivated by the Nazis. Convinced he was growing up in the best country in the world, he dreamt of joining the Leibstandarte, Hitler's elite Waffen SS unit. Tall, blond, blue-eyed, and just 17-years-old, Erwin fulfilled his dream on Mayday 1941, when he gave up his apprenticeship at the Glaser bakery in Memeler Strasse and walked into the Lichterfelde barracks in Berlin as a raw, volunteer recruit.

On arrival at the Eastern Front in late summer 1941, Erwin was assigned to a frontline communications squad and soon discovered that survival was a matter of luck - or the protection of a guardian angel. Good fortune finally deserted Erwin on 11 July 1943 when shrapnel sizzled through his lung during the epic Battle of Kursk-Prokhorovka. Following a period of recovery, and promotion to Unterscharführer, Erwin took up a post as machine-gun instructor with the Ausbildung und Ersatz Bataillon.

From the war on the southern sector of the Eastern Front to a bomb-shattered Berlin populated largely by old men and demoralized lonely women, this candid eyewitness account offers a unique and sometimes surprising perspective on the life of a young Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler volunteer.

©2013 Estate of Erwin Bartmann/Derik Hammond (P)2017 Tantor

Critic reviews

"This is a valuable memoir, providing both a good account of the nature of the fighting in the East, and the changing attitudes of the author, both towards the Nazi regime and the chances of final victory." ( History of War)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Very very good! *review may contain spoilers*

This is a very enjoyable book, however, though the performance is good enough, it keeps to the same tone from start to finish so it can feel a bit monotonous after lengthy listening times.

I've been looking into a lot of memoirs from the German perspective of WW2 and to find one from an SS soldier, I jumped to it!

The book follows his life from a young age to joining the SS, to his "retirement". (trying to avoid spoilers)
Erwin goes into a good deal of detail with his stories on the Eastern front, though there are surprisingly few regarding what we know the SS were well known for on the Eastern front, whether they are deliberately left out or he genuinely never taken part, I doubt I'll ever find out.

History is history, and everyone has their perception of it, so please try not to view this book as Nazi propaganda as some seem to view German memoirs.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Terrible choice of narrator

This book gives an interesting viewpoint to the war in Russia however the narrators american accent and terrible american pronunciations have ruined this as an audio book

6 people found this helpful

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exellant book

a fascinating view from a different perspective of a German soldier ,very good ! well worth a listen .

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Flowing, interesting personal detail

very listenable. moves at pace through the entire length of the war, with interesting details, insights and observations along the way

1 person found this helpful

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The Other Side

Every event has two tales to tell. We know our side but to hear the other side you forget that it’s some mothers son and she worries like our mothers did. The things they did and then the way they suffered brings this home by Arvins tale. A great listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Story!

Told from the other side. A soldier of the Waffen SS. A change from the typical heroic stories of the allies.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent first hand account of the life of a member of the SS

I must say I thought this book to be excellent and gripping to say the least .
Had me picturing actual events as he actually lived them ....
Well done to all involved in this books publishing.....
Regards,
JJ Y

3 people found this helpful

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really well written and read.

interesting and compelling perspective of an elite young German soldier. so much detail, very vivid. highly recommended

2 people found this helpful

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a brilliant accout

could not stop listening it was a very good account of what it must have been like for Mr Bartman. Thanks

2 people found this helpful

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Captivating

This was my first foray with an audio book. I enjoy seeing the Second World War from the German perspective. The content and delivery was excellent. I would recommend this book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel S Seely
  • 06-08-17

Wow what a ride

These guys had a life not many will experience. Hell on the eastern front with sex strewn about. No doubt there are many men now forgotten whose stories we would die for.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Rhonda
  • 07-04-18

The Ost Front

Where does Fur Volk and Fuhrer rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Close to the top in books about the Second World War.The best and most honest book about the Russian Front.

What other book might you compare Fur Volk and Fuhrer to and why?

It is the best book on the Russian front I've seen .The Forgotten Solider is another good book about the Russian.

Have you listened to any of James Foster’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the best of his books I have listened to.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The honesty of this book .

Any additional comments?

For those who like personal accounts of the common solider this a book for you

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeffrey
  • 19-07-17

Sehr gut.

Slightly naive, but honest. The end of the war chapters were the best. It is worth a read.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Nick H.
  • 10-06-17

Insight into Waffen SS

Interesting autobiographical look into the life of a loyal Waffen SS soldier who fought to the end of the war in the Liebstandarte. Gives a unique look from the perspective of a soldier uninvolved in anything around the einsatzgruppen or murder squads. The majority of the Waffen SS were men who just wanted to be a part of Germany's elite fighting formations. This book tells the story of one of those men and I absolutely inhaled it. Great listen, check it out.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Krista
  • 22-07-19

A moving, detailed memoir of an honorable man.

This book is a definite gem for any who have interest in ther topic.

Highly detailed in his recollections of what happened, it gives one a great sense of what it was like serving as a Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, from the beginning phase of recruitment to being captured.

There is little information about that which the author was not aware - which makes it all the more believable and enchanting.

Thank you Herr Bartmann.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Matt
  • 07-01-19

Book was much less battle related than I expected.

I likely went in with the wrong expectations. I can't argue with the facts about what happened to the guy but compared to other wwII books, this guy either saw or wrote about very little action. It seemed like he spent the majority of the war in Berlin recovering from minor wounds. Most of the book seemed to be about all the women he got while the rest of the German men were off doing the fighting. Tigers in the Mud and Panzer Ace we're non-stop action compared to this book.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • alexander
  • 08-08-18

Very little combat , still worth the read though

If you're looking for the combat POV style book then this is not for you. Overall it was a good story though and gave you a thorough understanding of German life during WWII. I would still recommend this book, but just know its not a lot of action.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Peter Cranley
  • 27-07-17

Incredible Biography

What did you love best about Fur Volk and Fuhrer?

Totally absorbing - did not want to turn it off. Cant believe the author is 88 years old.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • livy111us
  • 18-01-20

great book

loved the step by step detail of his accounting the battles worth the Russians and ultimate capture by the allies

1 person found this helpful

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  • logan chase
  • 20-12-19

Insightful for a WW2 nerd. Horror, humor, love

humor, horror and love make up this story and its a clear picture and story told by a impressive actor

1 person found this helpful