Thought for the day

"When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control." -- Theodore Dalrymple

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Hans-Georg Henke, a sixteen-year-old German anti-aircraft soldier of the Hitler Youth, is taken prisoner in the German state of Hessen. He was a member of the anti-aircraft squad of the Luftwaffe, who burst into tears as the world scattered around him.

 

His father died in 1938, but when his mother died in 1944, leaving the family destitute, Hans-Georg had to find work to support the family. At the age of 15, he joined the Luftwaffe.

 

According to the story Henke maintained throughout his life, he was based in Stettin with a battery of 88 mm guns. As the Soviets advanced, the German army was pushed back towards Rostock. It was here that the Soviets finally captured their unit, that these photographs were taken.

 

The alternate story is given by American photojournalist John Floria. He alleges that he took these photographs in Hessen, in the village of Hüttenberg-Rechtenbach, which is just north of Frankfurt am Main.

 

The area where Hans-Georg's photographs were taken is unquestionably Hessen. Many of the photographs taken clearly show the areas of the city that still exist today. Furthermore, as indicated by these photographs, he was wearing shoes when caught, as was later alleged, not with rags on his feet.