A Contribution by Alfred Opp Regarding the Nazi Era
Opp, Alfred. "A Contribution by Alfred Opp Regarding the Nazi Era." Mitteilungsblatt, June 2009, 18.
This translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado
After reading a report by Kuno Kehrer in the February, 2009 issue of the Mitteilungsblatt, I shall permit myself to add a brief story. When my father took sick while we lived on a Polish farm property in 1942, the administration transferred my family to Bromberg, where Father found work with the Reichsbahn [German National Railroad]. There, at age twelve, I was entered in public school. But having experienced multiple school term interruptions, my abilities were estimated at merely the "second year" level. The teacher I was given at the time was an injured officer from Galicia. This gentleman took me under his wings. He would give me homework that proved very beneficial to me. I had such great respect for him that I performed my work diligently, especially in order not to disappoint. The teacher suggested that I enter the Jungvolk [a government-sponsored organization for youth - Tr.]. My parents agreed , and thus I was introduced to a group of trumpeters. Within a year, I became lead trumpeter. Our troupe, considered a rather select one, was asked to play at many events here and in other cities. We were given good meals, and we were expected to adhere to strict order and discipline. There was nothing much political about us. We were required to appear dressed neatly, with freshly ironed clothes, at all times. We were taught to give up seats for elderly folks and help those who were unable to carry their own bags.
Father was not a member of the party, but he was a fan. We were not told that we should escape. Thus Father was banished to Russia, where he died eventually.
Mother, brother, sister and I were taken to a Polish camp, where my sister died of hunger. Beaten down badly, we still made it to Germany. The time I spent in the Jungvolk remains to this day a period of good training, and I still have good memories of it. Today I live in Canada, and I have written two books about my life history.
Alfred Opp, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.