BOOK EXCERPT 2:
East Prussia, May 1940
(sections of pp39-42)
The camp came into view, and Klaudia saw another Labour girl, Rosa Welkerling, arriving at nearly the same time....
"Have you been summoned, too?" Rosa asked Klaudia, astonished.
Klaudia nodded, and asked in a nervous whisper, "Do you know what this is all about?"
"No," Rosa admitted.
... they were admitted to the "inner sanctum," and came to attention with outstretched arms and a simultaneous "Heil Hitler!"
The Camp Commandant was a woman in her late 20s who had risen rapidly in the RAD. She sat behind her desk, while her visitor sat back comfortably in the leather arm-chair reserved for visitors. The girls were both disappointed. Unconsciously conditioned by the Propaganda Ministry, they had assumed that all Luftwaffe majors were tall, blond, and dashingly handsome. This man was middle-aged, over-weight, balding and not in the least handsome. He looked rather like an ordinary shopkeeper dressed up in uniform.
… The only reason that Klaudia was standing here and not one of the others was because of her name. When the Luftwaffe major had asked her to recommend two suitable girls, the Camp Commandant had automatically thought of the Labour Girl v. Richthofen.
The major got to his feet and with his hands behind his back began to lecture to the girls. "Not a shopkeeper," Rosa thought in annoyance; "a schoolteacher!"
She was right. In civilian life Major Bayer was a high-school teacher, but in his capacity as Reserve Major he was responsible for recruitment in East Prussian Air District. A few days earlier, a report had crossed his desk detailing the sudden and dramatic increase in the Luftwaffe's requirements for communications specialists. … The report concluded that the Luftwaffe must increase reliance on female auxiliaries, as these could be recruited from the vast pool of untouched "manpower" not already being funnelled into the armed forces. …
Bayer explained carefully and at some length about the new demands placed on the Luftwaffe. Aside from the need to monitor and control the airspace from Norway to the Italian border, they were now in the final stages of subduing France. Since the English had managed to escape at Dunkirk, however, there was no longer any doubt that they would have to invade England. For this last task - something not achieved since 1066 - the Luftwaffe would have to station bomber and fighter Groups in France and the Low Countries. It was going to have to concentrate these for a massive assault against the British Isles.
Up to now, Bayer reminded his attentive audience, the Luftwaffe had fought in support of German ground forces. It had acted like long-range artillery, softening up enemy positions in advance of a ground attack, and responding to requests for air support from the troops on the ground. But against England, the Luftwaffe would be spearheading the assault, and doing so virtually alone.
"Never in the history of the world," Major Bayer told the Labour Girls in front of him, "has an air force been asked to perform a comparable task. We have been asked - by the Führer personally - to destroy the British will to resist. Our beloved Feldmarschall has staked his personal reputation on fulfilling the Führer's wish. And the Luftwaffe will not fail him - I can assure you of that! The Luftwaffe burns to show the Führer what it can do. But," the teacher-turned-major stopped dramatically, "but the Luftwaffe needs help. It needs your help."
The astonished looks of the two Labour Girls were highly satisfying to the lecturer. "Yes, we need your help because our young men want to be at the forefront of the battle - flying, arming and repairing aircraft - but they can only do their jobs if there are enough communications specialists to direct them to their targets and bring them safely home. That is a job that even women can do. The Luftwaffe already employs thousands of young women who do exactly that - and we need many more. Women like you - women who are hard-working, conscientious, loyal and discreet. I say discreet, because your work will be highly classified and require the utmost discretion. This is not a job that can be entrusted to flighty or dull girls. The jobs we demand of you are difficult and vital to national security. You will be members of the Luftwaffe Support. You will wear Luftwaffe uniform, eat at Luftwaffe messes, and be subject to Luftwaffe discipline. With luck, you could even be stationed at one of our new bases in France or the Low Countries. You could then take part very directly and personally in this historic struggle. You will be able to tell your children and grandchildren that you - no less than your brothers and boy friends in our bomber crews - helped to subdue the stubborn British lion. "
"Your Camp Leader has selected you two girls as the most suitable of all the girls currently in her charge for this awesome and inspiring task. Now I put the question to you: are you willing to help your Fatherland, your nation and your Führer by becoming Luftwaffehelferinnen?"
Bayer had not yet met two teenage girls who could resist his harangue.
|NOTE: In building this site, I thought about many things - such as what spelling standard I should use in
referring to World War II, and what keyword spelling people might use
in a search engine to find this page. I found it interesting to
note the following numbers of page listings for the various ways one
might type World War II into a search engine.
6,050,000 for world war two
5,860,000 for world war 2
134,000,000 for world war II (using the capital i for the 2)
83,900 for world war ll (using the lower case L for the 2)
26,200,000 for second world war
310,000 for 2nd world war
21,600 for ww two
804,000 for ww 2
7,130,000 for ww ii (using the i for the 2)
46,300 for ww ll (using the lower case L for the 2)
21,600 for w.w. two
804,000 for W.W.2
7,130,000 for w.w.II (using the capital i for the 2)
46,300 for w.w.ll (using the lower case l for the 2)
Note that capitalization, punctuation and spacing changes introduced no differences. So if you are looking for information on a particular subject, remember to use all variations of the wrods related to the subject. The pages a search engine will give you to look at will vary with each method. Also in general, I have referred to World War II on these pages using WWII (using the capital i for the 2).
|COPYRIGHT NOTES I PRIVACY|