Book Review: D-Day Through German Eyes by Holger Eckhertz

Note added 6/1/18- Sadly since reading and posting this review I’ve been informed about doubts of this book’s veracity. This is a shame as I enjoyed this book and the idea. But given these questions I can not leave the review to stand without comment. I enjoyed the book but it appears to be more fiction than fact. Fiction, of course, is fine. But not when dressed as fact. Apologies.

The events of D-Day are well know and have been retold many times, and yet it’s always told through the eyes of the attacking allies, but here we get the perspective of five German soldiers of what happened that fateful day.

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In this book Holger Eckhertz collects some of the interviews his grandfather conducted in the ’50s with veterans and chooses one from each of the landing sites (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword).

The interviews reveal just how overwhelming the onslaught was for the defenders and some of the recollections highlight the horrors of war. It’s not for the faint of heart as some of the descriptions are quite graphic but capture what must have been a chaotic and terrifying experience, it is through luck that these men survived and most stories show the random nature of battle.

It also shows how the Nazi propaganda machine worked with many discussing how they felt they were defending Europe and some confessing to not understanding the motivation and ferocity of the attackers.

One expresses his regret and sadness over the war, as well as his earnest hope that future generations avoid conflict, but in other places some seem proud of their actions. They are not cartoon Nazis, evil without pause, but there are times it makes uncomfortable reading. One in particular seems to still feel they were justified in their actions and another recalls not understanding why a man of the same race would want to kill them.

It shows how the propaganda convinced young men to fight and die. It also gives an insight into the actions of the allies which at times are more vicious and cold than we are used to seeing them as. It shows that both sides were capable of extreme violence, and that it wasn’t as clean cut as movies would have us believe.

It’s a fascinating account with a fresh perspective for a famous and important event. At times is is a little repetitive and some narrators are less likeable than others, but on the whole it’s an interesting and involving read.

Verdict: Well presented and insightful, an interesting oral history from the other side of history. 8/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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4 Comments on “Book Review: D-Day Through German Eyes by Holger Eckhertz”

  1. Hamish Gunn says:

    It’s fake in my opinion. Do a search. There is an excellent post on Reddit.

    • chrisebpage says:

      I’ve done a search and there are quite few comments and discussion forums, but none with concrete proof. The major contentions seem to be that the narrative voices are very similar (been a while since I read it, but dimly remember differences in views on the war and their feelings about what they did) and that no military units are named, though this could be for anonymity purposes? (similar to Mark Baker’s brilliant Nam).
      Now, it would be a shame if it is faked as I found it interesting to read from the other side, but can’t find any that definitely disproves it.
      If it is fiction then it’s very well done, and my review will have to change, but given what I can find online, I can’t dismiss it yet.
      But thanks for drawing my attention to this and for the feedback, will have to keep digging.

      • Hamish Gunn says:

        Chris, I turned to investigating the publisher and came across
        http://forum.worldoftanks.com/index.php?/topic/310013-tank-and-armor-book-thread/page__st__640

        I spent some time researching the locations from Google satellite, reconnaissance photos, Atlantic Wall websites and wartime maps. The book locations did not tie up with them. The first account describes a fortified house that I could not find. The third account describes a bunker that does not seem to be documented. The last account describes events at Merville that are not described in the battle accounts.

        My suspicions were raised when I could not verify things and were confirmed when I found no evidence of the publisher.

      • chrisebpage says:

        Damned disappointing that, will have to add a note to the post. Glad I didn’t shell out cash for this or go onto the second part.
        Thanks for the info.


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