Heisenberg's oldest daughter Anna Maria Hirsch recently finished transcribing his many letters to their mother. They have not been published nor translated, except for these excerpts here.

This sampling of very personal Letters from Hechingen to his wife, E- "Li" -sabeth, precedes the "Diary from the Last Days of War". They give a first- hand account of the collapse of Nazi-Germany during the last five months of WWII, and they show how his life had been reduced to the bare essentials: survival of the family, food, mutually supportive relationships, love of music and nature. "Knowledge and skills", he writes, referring to the music lessons Elisabeth is giving their children, will be the important things to be passed on to the next generation amidst the destruction all around.

The letters, moreover, do show that his work to develop a power reactor could not have been an urgent war project. When he spends the morning in the woods in order to work undisturbed on "real physics", he was likely focusing on S-matrix theory or other theoretical problems. Also, for the government this was not an urgent program either; otherwise he surely would have been exempted from regularly wasting hours and hours on duty in the "Volkssturm" (People's Defense League). Even though he is obligated to do his work, he is not committed to it. He sees his leadership role in making sure the institute keeps running so that its members are not removed for military duty. This characteristic sense of responsibility for others in his circle overrides most other concerns, and he is referring openly to the conflicting feelings arising from his roles as father and husband and of head of the institute.

We believe that these letters let us glimpse into the heart and soul of a great man, much more so than any number of other biographical material has allowed us.




Comment by J.H.: The question has come up as to when this diary has been written. The diary contains very precise time records so that some believe he kept notes every day. However, there are indications that the bulk was written down during his internment at Farm Hall. First, the internees had been encouraged as part of their activities to record their experiences during the last days of the war. For that purpose they had a typewriter available at Farm Hall. We have only typed copies of this diary. Then, there are statements that you write only once you know it's really over, such as "for the last time I am using the Hitler salute". Finally, the back of the last page contains a sketch by W.H. of Urfeld and its environment, obviously for explanations to the other internees who are not familiar with that area. (This sketch is shown at the end of this translation.)

Diary for the period April 15th to May 15th 1945*

Werner Heisenberg

Sunday, 4-15-45: In the morning on duty with the ‘Volkssturm’* at the range. All three companies are to watch the use of the anti-tank weapons. A large sheet-metal sign simulating the tank is set up in a ditch. Of the three devices number one doesn’t work at all, number two is shot too short and so is the third that was aimed for the short distance. Two new devices must be brought in. With some excuse I am following the two people charged with fetching them into the depot so that I know where the ammunition is stored. But the people have to drive into Hechingen. Meanwhile I stand close to the N.S. big shots: Weidle, Holzheuer, Kirner, and listen to their talk about the situation. Only Kirner still believes in new weapons, gets off on the supposedly existing 2000 German jetfighter planes, Holzheuer replies: "Die Botschaft hör ich wohl" ( note: this is a quote from Goethe’s Faust " I can hear the message, yet I am lacking belief"). General impression: when needed, the Volkssturm is not going to do anything. After arrival of the two new devices the first shot goes too far to the right, the last one shot by Kirner after lengthy preparations goes too far by a good 30 meters. Roaring laughter. On the way back C.F.* and I take some blooming hawthorn branches home. – After the meal sunbathing at the Säuweiherle(name of a pond) to get away from the low flying fighter planes. Battle noise from the direction of Horb and Freudenstadt. In the evening the planned trip of the Weizsäckers to Radolfzell falls through. Glare of fire at the horizon, Freudenstadt and Nagold are probably burning.

4-16-45: Immediately after my arrival in the institute low flying planes attack a train at the station. Miss Pletz has not come in, call to Tailfingen where Miss Pletz fortunately had not left. Various walks to the Säuweiherle to study the battle lines. At noon there are soldiers at Fecker’s coming from Wildbad; they were suddenly attacked and their commander was killed; now they are trying to get to Ulm to reassemble. In the evening large retreat activities on all streets. Vehement thunder of canons fired near Horb. Later that night lightning flashes all around but no detonations; we discover only gradually that this is a natural lightning storm. I work until midnight, then attempt unsuccessfully to call Urfeld over the lines of the airforce. At 1am alarm from the institute, triggered by an unnecessary report from Sauerwein. I stay at the institute until 3am, then I finally go to bed.

4-17-45: In the morning trip with Wirtz, Bopp and Fischer to Haigerloch, to determine the place for the U-metal. At the Seehof a division troop is staying bound for the Alb during the night. In the distance smoke clouds of burning villages; at the horizon for the first time detonations of grenades. The defeated German artillery has passed through Haigerloch during the night and went on in the direction of Balingen. Horb is said to have been occupied in the morning. Haigerloch itself quiet, only low flying planes. Return around noon; after the meal meeting at Laue’s with Hahn, Götte, and Wirtz. Trip of C.F. to Reutlingen and Tübingen is necessary for two-fold certification as indispensible; C.F. is to leave the next day. For 7pm a complete staff meeting at the institute is scheduled. Much interruption from low flying planes. At 5pm Pahl comes up to me on the street: Can you be my witness, I am marrying Miss Wolfram in half an hour. Wedding at the town hall from 5:30pm to 6:30pm accompanied by low flying planes. 7pm institute meeting: Start of evacuation of the facilities, secrecy, I myself will be leaving. After 8pm departure of the technical staff for Haigerloch, the uranium metal will be buried in the night. In the evening visit from Miss Reinebeck’s father in my apartment who most graciously brings me wine, cigarettes, and chocolate.

4-18-45: At early dawn a walk to the Pheasant Woods to get some flowering branches, stopped by Pahls to congratulate them. Trip of C.F. to Tübingen and Reutlingen. The walks to the Säuweiherle let me see fighting near Rottenburg. Haigerloch however is not occupied yet. On my way back I am at Wirtz for a brief moment. Airraid by some fighter planes which we pass in W’s basement. Preparations for my departure which I am scheduling for the next morning. Around 6pm final visit at v.Laue. Inquiries at the train station: stretch from Hechingen to Jungingen destroyed. So I will have to use the bicycle to even get to Jungingen. 9pm to 11pm visit from Mrs. v.W. and Wirtz; last conversations and planning, I am very tired, but finished with the preparations. The bicycle had a last check-up. By 11pm C.F has not yet returned from Reutlingen; farewell to Wirtz and G.v.W.*, then to bed. Around midnight C.F. comes by and reports the successful result of his trip, thus I can leave reassured. 12:30 am farewell to C.F., I am sleeping poorly and restlessly. The alarm goes off at 2:30 am.

4-19-45: Quick breakfast, departure by bicycle at 3:30 am. Streets pretty empty, clear starry night, but very cold. 4:15 am arrival in Jungingen, the train ready to leave at the station, the conductor in a hurry. Ticket to Hettingen. Since the sun is already up when we arrive in Gammertingen, I decide to get off there, to not risk attacks by low flying aircraft. From there bicycle ride across the Alb, many destroyed cars by the side of the road; some 25 km to Riedlingen on the Danube where I arrive around 8am. Clear blue sky, east wind which is somewhat bothersome on the bicycle. On in the direction of Biberach, before that a branch off to Kleintissen. At a roadside crucifix, some kilometers before Kleintissen, breakfast in the warm sunshine, lovely view across fields and woods. Around 10am in Kleintissen. There I meet Erwin who came home from Bitterfeld after an adventuresome six day journey. His whole family is there too. Breakfast again, walk to the smith about a vehicle, after lunch a long, deep sleep. Around 7pm departure by bicycle to Aulendorf, nice stretch of road through the hills past Saulgau. Here I can see the mountains of Oberstdorf finally. Arrival in Aulendorf at about 8:30pm. I want to take the train for a bit; but the train for Leutkirch- Memmingen will leave only at 12:40 am. Actual departure finally around 1:30 am. The train only goes a few kilometers, engine trouble. We get another engine - that one too does not really work. Only at around 6am in Waldsee, 8 km away from Aulendorf. So I decide to keep going by bicycle.

4-20-45: First a long and rather arduous trip by bicycle from Waldsee to Diepoldshofen; there a Frenchman points me to the "Grosse Mühle", the residence of Miss Reinebeck and her mother. It is only 8:15 am, both have not yet had breakfast. I partake of a good breakfast and leave around 9:30am toward Leutkirch, where high party officials in cars cross my way. Shortly behind Leutkirch appear large convoys of American bomber planes accompanied by fighter planes up above. From a sheltered spot near a little chapel I watch the destruction of Memmingen. Huge plumes of smoke and waves of detonation; thus I am glad not to have gone via Memmingen. In Krugzell in the Iller Valley a decent meal in a diner, then a long nap under trees on a glacial hill, about 9km north of Kempten. From there one can see all of the Allgäu Alps, especially the mountains surrounding Sonthofen, where I had been in boot camp seven years ago with the mountain troops. 5pm departure in the direction of Kaufbeuren. Cloudless skies all the time. Since I have been going for 50 km already this day, I have trouble ascending from the Illertal. Around 8 pm arrival in Kaufbeuren, fight for a glass of tea in the overcrowded waiting room at the station, I am hungry and am now feeling the exertion of the last days. 10pm the train leaves for Schongau, there pacing from 1am to 5am in the waiting room filled with a horde of half grown boys in SS uniform, probably from the Balkans. I don’t dare sleep, fearing for bicycle and luggage. At 5am departure of the train for Weilheim.

4-21-45: In Weilheim we arrive at about 6:30 am near the station which had been destroyed a few days ago. There I am waiting next to our train for the connection to Garmisch. Several hundred people are with me on the tracks, when suddenly a low flying aircraft comes by at 20 meters, everybody diving for cover! People are rolling down the embankment with baggage and kids. But it was only a German plane having fun. Since the sky is now covered with low hanging clouds, I will risk the train trip till Ohlstadt. The mountains in Garmisch, only visible in the distance a day ago from Krugzell, are now lying south immediately in front of us, but only the lower contours are recognizable. Around 9am we come to Ohlstadt at the foot of the Heimgarten Mountain. From there bicycle trip via Grossweil, Schlehdorf, through the moor to Kochel. In front of the wooden bridge in the moor there are SS cars whose passengers are hiding weapons under mounds of hay and are eyeing me suspiciously. But they let me go on my way. I am calling Urfeld from the post office in Kochel to announce my arrival. There is yet the long ascent over the Kesselberg to manage, I am very tired. Finally around 11:30am I am on the height of the pass, the blue Walchensee lies below and behind it the Soiern Peak half hidden in fog. Now this part of the battle is won, I am soon up at the house, Elisabeth and the children are well. - In the afternoon a bicycle trip to Sachenbach to get milk. The house has a few changes I will have to get used to slowly. The chickens on the lower floor bother me a little, though their usefulness makes sense to me in every way.

4-22-45 Sunday: After a long sleep a real day of rest. Elisabeth and Mrs. Linder have baked a cake, the children are playing out on the terrace in the sunshine, thus we are celebrating the Sunday as if it were total peace time. According to the news from the radio it is possible that Hechingen by now is occupied, and apparently fighting has started around Ulm. There seem to be no low-flying aircraft in Urfeld. Below us in the hotel" Fischer-on-Lake" is the headquarters for a regional elite training group. What a real N.S. hotbed Urfeld is. But secretly many are scheming where to escape to.

4-23-45: Morning fly-over by bomber squadrons over Urfeld heading east. Work in the vegetable garden, the last beds are planted. Then by bicycle to Sachenbach to get milk. The ball bearings break, I will have to use the other bicycle from now on. Deliberations about further measures to weather the war; paramount: to manage getting food. Unfortunately I am unable to get a telephone connection to Mittenwald to let Mama know of my arrival, due to the destruction of the telephone office in Weilheim. In the afternoon a crate of food is buried. Radio: Fighting in Ulm, Regensburg. Berlin is surrounded, the Führer in Berlin.

4-24-45: Trip to Kochel. Shopping at Demharter, but fruitless negotiating for potatoes with Helmer who wants to engage me as an observer of aircraft traffic. Food rationing stamps for myself, return home for lunch. In Urfeld it turns out that over night the garden was trampled by deer. So I continue working in the afternoon to get the garden back in order. Radio: Traversing of the Danube in Dillingen, the Americans are near Augsburg.

4-25-45 Clean- up work in the house. Deliberations about living quarters for Mama, telephone conversation with Dr. Hermann and Miss Pensberger. Return of Waltraut from Garmisch.

4-26-45: Trip to Kochel, shopping for fabric and food. Everything still calm there. Rumors that the Americans have pushed past Augsburg to the area around Weilheim. Thus I have to get Mama as soon as possible from Mittenwald. Preparation of the room at Leonhardt’s.

4-27-45: Bicycle trip to Mittenwald. Many soldiers on the road near Krün; generals who are walking in the sunshine and who have apparently given up on the war. 11:30am in Mittenwald, I am catching Mama in the inn eating lunch. Mama’s departure in Dr. Hermann’s car around 3:30pm. The room turned out quite gemütlich, so we are hoping that Mama will be feeling comfortable. I myself return to Urfeld around 5pm.

4-28-45: Trip to Kochel to buy powdered milk and food. I have to stand in line at Demharter for some time but am getting a whole backpack full of provisions. At Schermer too I am in line, there are huge amounts of cheese available. On my return I learn that the Munich broadcast station has declared the "Bavarian Liberation movement". Singer is ecstatic; but at noon the broadcast has ceased again. In the afternoon I am getting some firewood for Mama, splitting it and stacking it at Singer’s. On my way to Sachenbach for milk I run into Colin Ross and his wife shortly before the beach area. They are pushing a suitcase in a wheelbarrow, appear to be on their return from Sachenbach. I jump off and am happily greeting them: from now on we would probably see each other more often. Colin Ross replies that he is very happy that I have managed to get back to Urfeld after all. Otherwise, however, they both appear somewhat curt and quickly say good bye. I did not think of the possibility that this might be our last meeting. Toward evening the Munich broadcast station announces that the Bavarian Liberation movement was quashed.. Gauleiter Giesler and Mayor Fiehler are talking on the radio of victorious endurance, and so on… A telephone call to Miss Pensberger indicates that apparently Weilheim has been occupied by the Americans.

4-29-45 Sunday. The 29th was supposed to be our anniverary , and I had hoped for some peace and quiet to celebrate. But I have to go to Kochel to get provisions at Demharter; despite it being Sunday the store is going to be open from 10am to 3pm. Once down there I find out I will have to be in line till late afternoon. I am a bit unhappy about it, call Elisabeth on the phone. Later Elisabeth comes by bicycle with some food so we can take turns standing. Kochel is an ant-hill. Soldiers, SS, foreign laborers. In the train station a cargo train is standing with prisoners from Dachau who look terribly starved and pale. During the time that Elisabeth is standing in line at Demharter I go to the hill behind the station to lie down in the sunshine. From there I now can also detect the first grenade hits in our area, apparently in the stretch Murnau-Ohlstadt. Around noon Elisabeth and I are walking together through Kochel; suddenly First Lieutenant Schuster is standing in front of me. He has stayed overnight in Schongau with the remainder of his troop, nearly witnessed the occupation and is now with a car and driver in Kochel. He gets an invitation to Urfeld for the evening. Later I go once more to our hill to try to get a picture of the current battle and am assuming based on the plumes of smoke that the offensive is taking place in the valley along Weilheim, Garmisch, Murnau. Elisabeth has learned suddenly that Colin Ross and his wife have shot themselves in the night. People are talking a lot about this; Colin Ross was popular, his action is considered decent. "The decent Nazis are taking the consequences, the scoundrels are left behind." Around 4:30pm we are getting our purchases at Demharter, upon our return trip the old road up the Kesselberg is already blocked off, we have to push the bicycle up the long, new road. When we arrive in Urfeld around 6pm, we are asked by Brackenhofer’s daughter to go immediately to the funeral of the Ross couple. So we attend as we are dressed with Lederhosen and backpack. The bodies are laid out in the living room in which we had visited occasionally with them; shrouded in tent cloth, only the faces uncovered. The face of Colin Ross looks very angular, yet calm and at peace. This face is making a rather profound impression on me, but generally speaking, this time is so fraught with tension and events that even death is no longer moving me a whole lot. Elisabeth is feeling similarly. Soldiers are carrying the dead to their graves dug a few meters above the house. Lieutenant Schneider is reading a last letter by Colin Ross: "He did not want to survive the demise of Germany and the new idea. His wife, companion on so many hikes, also wanted to accompany him on this hike." For the last time we use the Hitler salute. Around 7pm we arrive home, tired. After dinner Schuster visits us. We decide that he should await the occupation together with us, and thus live with us for the time being. – According to the news the advance is apparently coming along the line Murnau –Mittenwald –Innsbruck. It is therefore possible that we will be occupied from either the north or the south. Simultaneously the ring around Berlin is closing more tightly, the Führer is going to disappear one of these days, besides it is rumored that Himmler has offered surrender to the Western Allies. Now there is a race on between four scenarios that would be able to end the war for us. But what will this end look like in Urfeld?

4-30-45: Car trip with Schuster to Kochel. Unfortunately no success at Schermer or Demharter, only at Pfleger I get a bit of meat. The train with the prisoners from Dachau is no longer in Kochel. In the town there are foreign SS loitering, young fellows who seem to make ends meet by plundering. They too are not interested in organizing a resistance. Since Schuster’s car is defective, we can not go to Benediktbeuren, therefore no more bread. Around noon we are back in Urfeld. Preparation of the cellar, trip to Sachenbach. Soldiers have taken up in our hay barn to sleep or hide out. It is getting colder and beginning to snow.

On the trip to Sachenbach I see anti-tank weapons aimed at our road from the beach area. In Sachenbach too there are anti-tank canons. Near evening I climb with Schuster up to the huts below the summit of the Herzogstand to find a place of refuge when things become serious. Up there, however, a complete unit of mountain troops is stationed. Battleline at 995 meters altitude, up above anti-tank canons; in the hut below the Herzogstand cliff which I had considered at first there are soldiers cooking. All the huts are occupied, not usable for us. The other Urfeld inhabitants have long since fled to the other shore across the lake, but even there in Altlach soldiers are reportedly in place. Besides, the heavy snows would hardly allow us to cross the lake with our small children. When it clears up temporarily we can see fire down in Grossweil and Schlehdorf. Suddenly the whole gravity of the situation hits me; resolution: ready the cellar and stay put. On the road still a lot of car traffic. Miss Pensberger is telling us on the phone that Kochel was under fire, Blessing’s daughter a casualty. The American tanks had advanced to the bridge Schlehdorf –Kochel, but turned around there since the bridge is destroyed. Mittenwald is occupied, so it is possible for the Americans to come from the south too.- As Schuster and I descended from the ridge to the house there was another very critical moment of danger: the commander of the Mountain troops stops Schuster and me and asks what we were up to up there, did we want to investigate ways to cross to the enemy. Schuster is very clever in his reply, his identification papers suffice to legitimate him. During the night still a lot of car traffic, this time from south to north. Sent away Schuster’s car and driver.

5-1-45: Car traffic on the road almost ceasing now, Krün supposedly occupied. I place calls to Walchensee and Einsiedeln, but no tanks have shown up there yet. Bicycle trip to Sachenbach, much more difficult due to the snow. Conversation there with the soldiers about the imminent end of the war. The reconvalescence unit in Urfeld is disbanded. The youth in the elite training school are burning their song books, Hitler pictures, and so on down below in the big meadow. All morning long we are listening to the heavy detonations, bridges and roads are being blasted. We have open windows, shutters closed.- Wolfgang is a little sick, he looks pale and scared and is brought to bed. Elisabeth thinks it is merely the turmoil of all the blasting, and the sense of danger; he more than anybody is in tune with the emotional situation of the adults, even though they hide it well. In the early afternoon a call from Miss Pensberger from Pessenbach: "Now the tanks are rolling in, we can hear them in the street." Two hours later she reports that the tanks have gone through Pessenbach and have occupied Kochel. Apparently only tanks and trucks. Black people are among them too, but we still don’t know whether it is the French or the Americans. The German troops in Kochel are said to have surrendered, probably the SS has retreated to our region or into the Jachenau. The weather is turning worse and worse, you can make out only the immediate area around the house. Near evening Wolfgang has a high fever, is vomiting, pain in his right side. We are afraid it might be an acute appendicitis. There is no doctor left in Urfeld; Dr. Otto has fled to Altlach and the field hospital in the youth hostel has moved on. There is no alternative than to go to Walchensee. Since we can’t get through by telephone, I start out on the bicycle by myself despite the snowstorm. For a stretch of 200 meters the road is blocked by blasting debris off of the mountain, I have to carry the bicycle across. The military doctor, a surgeon, advises that Wolfgang be brought in at once, no matter what. I am returning as fast as I can, it has now turned completely dark. Wolfgang is wrapped in blankets, placed in the hand buggy, Elisabeth and Schuster are taking him in the snowstorm to the barricade, carry him across, on the other side he is picked up by the military ambulance car. In the meantime I go down to Mama to give her comfort. Schuster returns, strangely without the buggy. Around 11pm I come back up, Mrs Linder calls out to me from the door: Hitler is dead!- Just maybe now we will get around having a battle here in Urfeld.-I can’t get a connection to Walchensee. Around midnight calls from the street below. Elisabeth is returning with Wolfgang. The doctor does not think an operation is necessary, but wanted to keep Wolfgang there. This Elisabeth did not agree to, so they are both returning. Wolfgang is even feeling a little better. Finally Schuster and I are going once more to the barricade, a two kilometer roundtrip to fetch the buggy. Around 1am we conclude the day with hopes and fears for the next day. Since it is completely quiet we forego the planned night watch.

5-2-45: Deep snow. The attempt to get to Sachenbach by bicycle fails. So I go on foot. At the hotel "Jäger Am See" I meet Brackenhofer in the bicycle repair workshop. He has hoisted the white flag and is telling me with every indication of terror that during the night 16 soldiers from the convalescence unit were stopped by the SS on their retreat and hanged. The SS were loitering in the woods near Sachenbach and Jachenau he says. Thus I am going on to Sachenbach with some mixed feelings. There I come upon soldiers, but the anti tank weapons have moved on. The news of Hitler’s death is new to them, but even to that the soldiers are reacting with total indifference. The name von Dönitz was familiar only to some of them. The farmer’s wife is relating that the SS are in the woods and have plundered and set houses on fire in the Jachenau that had the white flag up. Nobody dares utter an opinion whether that was right or wrong. It appears that deep down everyone is hoping for a quick arrival of the Americans. Upon my return I hear from Miss Pensberger that now several hundred Americans have arrived in Kochel. Still plenty of battle noise from the south. Fischer Lexer comes to me and tells me I have to go for duty at the barricade by order of the local unit. Having negotiated a surrender they now have to clear the roadway. I cautiously decline, and make fire wood for Mama’s room with Schuster. Around noon gun-fire on the way to Sachenbach; Schuster and I try to identify the shooters with binoculars; we have no idea what is going on. Mrs. Linder is in an elevated mood "just like before Christmas". In the afternoon I go to Mama with Ria. While up in the house Elisabeth and Schuster are sitting in their armchairs in the dining area there suddenly appear three armed men on the terrace who push open the door and come up to Schuster and Elisabeth with their automatic weapons drawn. Both are at first thinking they must be SS, but the Americans are at once asking for me. I am told by phone to come back up. Colonel Pash, the leader of the group wants to speak to me alone. As we are sitting in the armchairs together, a wild shooting erupts outside. Colonel Pash jumps up, the automatic rifle in the ready, goes out to the terrace. I myself am still too caught up in the fact that now, finally, everything had come to pass that I had for many years expected, feared, and hoped. Thus I am watching this little skirmish in total calm and in the best of moods. Only the rest of the household, especially the children are quickly sent to the cellar. After about 10 minutes of shooting with automatic rifles and guns it turns silent. A Major General reports to the Colonel that one SS man is dead, two wounded and arrested, the rest had escaped. Then the talk with Pash continues: He is under orders to arrest me, but will continue to take care of the family and me in every possible way. The departure is scheduled for the next day or so, until then I can take care of the family and make preparations. We talk mostly about the difficult situation with food: we have not been able to buy bread in four days, the nearest place to get bread is 20km away, some of the roads there are destroyed. Pash thinks the bridge across the Klamm on the Kesselberg road would probably be repaired by the Americans overnight. He himself in the meanwhile had only been able to come with ten men and on foot. The situation in Urfeld from a military point is now quite weird: in Urfeld there are 10 Americans, 5oo meters above on the Ridge on the Herzogstand there is a complete unit of German mountain troops which probably wants to surrender, in pockets in the woods there are SS. Pash is negotiating with the commander of the unit which is supposed to surrender its weapons at 10am the next morning. Until then he too is hoping for reinforcements. My house is supposed to be highly guarded, at night nobody is allowed to leave it. That night we are having a little celebration for peace with the last remnants of alcohol, we are in bed around 11pm. Everybody is in the best mood, especially Mrs. Linder, only Elisabeth is very tired. Wolfgang is doing slightly better, but the little guy still looks not well; he keeps asking me why I was again going to leave; didn’t I promise that in peace time I would always stay with him. - In the night I am lying awake for a long time. Around 1am I hear steps near the house, don’t know whether it is the SS or Americans. Fortunately we have Schuster’s pistols nearby; I am not waking up anybody and am eventually going back to sleep.

5-3-45: Around 4am another huge explosion. The children are crying; most likely the Americans have blasted another target. At 7am the American night watch comes in demanding breakfast: 2 eggs. Elisabeth is in despair, since for us this represents a fortune. Later Colonel Pash comes. He offers me a ride in an American military vehicle to Benediktbeuren. The bridge is repaired, and I can go buy bread. Meanwhile trucks and small tanks have arrived in Urfeld, the military situation is now clear. Pash mentions that the SS had been in Urfeld during the night; the unit from the Herzogstand had not appeared at the weapon surrender, had apparently been prohibited by the SS from doing so. Pash thinks he has so much in troops and material in Urfeld now that nothing could go wrong anymore. Trip to Benediktbeuren, result: 20 pounds of bread, 15 pounds of flour, 1 pound of butter, 7 pounds of cheese. The whole region full of tanks, trucks, troops. The huge advantage in material is in plain view for everyone. On the return trip Pash is giving me another crate of provisions for Elisabeth. In addition we receive a protection order for the house and a weapons permit for Schuster. Waltraut is going on foot to Sachenbach for milk; upon her return she relates that in Sachenbach there are still German troops and SS. I am reproaching myself in retrospect for exposing her to danger.- The weather is gradually improving, it is clearing up, but stays very cold. Final visit at Mama’s, around 4pm departure for Heidelberg. The trek is creating quite a stir in Urfeld: a tank in front, then two military vehicles with automatic rifles. Dinner in Augsburg; for the first time in many months I am so full that I wouldn’t want to eat more. Around 2:30 am we arrive in Heidelberg completely stiff from the cold. I take a warm bath, then fall asleep rapidly.

 

* Note: The diary is a 14 page typewritten manuscript with a drawing of  Urfeld  and its surroundings. It ends, contrary to its title, on May 3rd 1945. Translation from the German, unabridged, by Irene Heisenberg

Volkssturm = civilian offensive

C.F. = Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker

G.v. W.= Gundalena von Weizsäcker

RETURN TO MAIN INDEX