Whoever closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present.
Richard von Weizsäcker

Anton Richter, born 28.07.1914 in Brüx, at that time Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, today Czech Republic, district Aussig.

25 years old, he was conscripted into the ‘Wehrmacht’ (the German Armed Forces). This was before the outbreak of World War II accounting for general mobilization of reservists in July and August 1939. Then, with the Polenfeldzug (Poland Campaign), 01.09. – 06.10.1939, WW II began. The exact day Anton Richter was conscripted is not known.

Anton Richter was in the ‘Luftwaffe’ (the German Air Force) and corresponding to stories he was a driver. Who or what he exactly drove was not told. In accordance to lore he was stationed in many places, f. e. in several places in France, the Netherlands, in Warsaw, and for some time in Nellingen near Stuttgart.

Referring to information from WAST (Information Centre for the Wehrmacht) his dog-tag said his unit was the Lw.Baukp.47/XII [Luftwaffen-Baukompanie 47/12 (Airforce Engeneering/Construction Companie 47/12)]. Those units were deployed for construction works in sites of the Luftwaffe (frontline airfields, bunker, etc.)

At the 18.01.1940 he was named as a member of the Luftwaffen-Baukompanie 47/12 with location Kassel-Wolfsanger/Hesse. According to the mobilization the Lw.Baukp.47/XII was subordinated the Luftgau XII (Air-District XII). It is possible that this means the Flakkaserne Kassel-Wolfsanger. Once basic training and then assignment wherever hands were needed. Generally the soldiers were transferred at the turn of the year to other units for their special training.     For the military base Kassel in this days it tells “When the troops from Kassel returned to the garrison in the afternoon of the 23.10.1939 after the Poland Campaign and after a four-day-march in the afternoon of the 23.10.1939, there were about 100.000 people to give a cordial welcome to the troops from Bettenhausen. In front of the city-hall the Commanding General, General of the Infantry z. V. Rudolf Schniewindt, took the salute. Active units remained until 29.01.1949 at the base. In fierce cold then they left the city for moving into a new quarter in the area of the river Lahn.”

By reviewing the evidence you will instinctively go round to an assignment in a support unit for the Marine-Flieger (naval pilots) in France.
In May 1940 there were rumors in France about plundering, pillage, rapes and murder. At least Anton Richter must have been involved in plundering too. Traceable he had send home some loot. On the 10.05.1940 the Westfeldzug (Westcampaign – the assault of the Netherlands, Belgium. Luxembourg and France) began. German soldiers were cheering about the attack. In this Westfeldzug Anton Richter must have taken part for he stated, he had been in the Netherlands too.

On the 01.04.1941 Anton Richter is listed, having been a member of the Fliegerhorst-Kompanie 23/XI (Airbase Companie 23/XI), which was subordinated the Luftgau IX (Air-District IX, Hamburg [according to Tessin, Georg, Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im 2. Weltkrieg 1939-45, Osnabrück, 1973 ff.]). Airbase Companies were responsible for the technical settings of the airbase. At this time Anton Richter ranked Gefreiter (Private). He was from 01.04.1941 to 15.04.1941 in the Feldlazarett (motorisiert) 196 (Field Hospital (motorized) 196), Mezierns [probably Mézières, Ardennes, France], sickened by an appendicitis. He was discharged to his unit inside fit for service.

The area around Orsha in Belarus was an important location for the Luftwaffe. Orsha on the Dnieper is an important station on the road from Minsk to Moscow. This crosses the old route from St. Petersburg to Kiev. In addition, Orha dominates the "gate of Smolensk", the land bridge between Dnieper and Düna. After the defeat in the Kesselschlacht near Białystok and Minsk, where three Soviet armies of the West Front had been smashed, the Red Army built a new line of defense in the Smolensk area at the beginning of July 1941, with a total of 42 divisions. Four armies still in reserve, the 19th to 22nd, were to prevent a transition of the army group center over the Dnepr and West Dwina rivers, as well as the "land bridge" between Witebsk, Orsha and Smolensk.

Later, summer 1942 or summer 1943, he was staying at the Fliegerhorst Nellingen. In 1937, the construction of an airfield was started west-northwest of Nellingen, which was put into operation on 1 October 1938. After the beginning of the war, school and other units were located in the square. Only 1944 was the place occupied by fronts.

At the end of the war, he descended from the troops and drove with a distracted army-of-war soldiers with a truck towards home. The truck came under fire and was hit. Luckily, Anton Richter, who had been sitting in the cab, survived. The survivors escaped into a bomb crater, and Anton Richter wanted to kill himself out of desperation. A Russian soldier prevented him from doing so, and he came into Russian captivity, and was taken to the camp of Elsterhorst, near Hoyerswerda, where he probably had to leave the camp.

From 03.02.1942 to 10.02.1942 he was in the Reserve Kriegslazarett Warschau (Reserve Military Hospital Warsaw) transferred from Luftwaffen-Orts-Lazarett (Airforce Site Hospital) Orscha, Belarus, suffering from a brain concussion caused – so he told - from a truck accident, the truck fully loaded with ammunition boxes. Anton Richter’s head was caught between the falling boxes.

The area around Orscha in Belarus was an important location for the Luftwaffe. Orscha, at the river Dnjepr, is a major station on the route from Minsk to Moscow. At this point the old road crosses the road from St. Petersburg to Kiev. Additionally Orscha controls the ‘Gate of Smolensk’, the land bridge between the rivers Dnjepr and Düna. After the defeat in the cauldron battles from Bialystok and Minsk, where three soviet armies of the western front were battered, the Red Army reraised in the area around Smolensk at the beginning of July 1941 a new defense line with 42 divisions in all. Four armies, the 19. Army up to the 22. Army - held in reserve until now – should prevent the Heeresgruppe Mitte (Central Army Group) from crossing the rivers Dnjepr and Western Dwina as well as the ‘land bridge’ between Witebsk, Orscha and Smolensk.

Later, in the summer of 1942 or 1943, he stayed at the military airfield Nellingen (round 70 km southeast of Stuttgart). In 1937 construction of an airfield west-northwest of Nellingen was started, which commenced operation the 01.10.1938. After the beginning of WW II particularly training units and replacement units were harbored there. Only after 1944 fighting squadrons were stationed in Nellingen.

At the end of the war he deserted from the forces and together with other scattered soldiers in a truck he drove heading home. The truck came under attack and get a direct hit. Sitting in the cab Anton Richter survived with a lot of luck. The survivors took shelter in a bomb crater and in sheer desperation he tried to commit suicide. Prevented of this by a Russian soldier, he came into Russian captivity and was taken to the detention camp Elsterhorst near Hoyerswerda, where he was imprisoned until the disbandment of the camp.

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Clair Sch.
Author: Clair Sch.Website: http://www.ancestry24.deEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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