Started – 23/6/12
Finished – 30/6/12
Format – Kindle e-book
Synopsis – “I was just eighteen years old when I was drafted in September of 1944, and taken into the infantry….” Just a kid, Emilio DiPalma found himself at center stage of one of the most dramatic trials of the twentieth century. He stood guard over the most notorious war criminals, and watched in horror as their atrocities were described in detail throughout the Nuremberg Trails.
In May 2000, his daughter Emily accompanied him to Germany and the site of the Trials. At that time, he began to dictate his memoirs to her. Here, in his own words, are the recollections of one member of the Greatest Generation.
My Thoughts – I downloaded this book as it was free for a day on Kindle. I am really interested in the second world war, however i havent read much about what happened in Germany after the war had finished.
Emilio DiPalma was a soldier in the armed forces during the second world war. The first part of the book goes into detail about his experiences during the war. He lost one of his comrades from a ‘flesh wound’ which for me was quite shocking, That sort of thing shouldnt happen, but it often did and this experience stayed with him for the rest of his life.
The majority of the book goes into details of the Nuremberg trials.I had heard of the trials but i wasnt too aware of what went on during those, so reading a first hand account was really fascinating for me. For example, i didnt know that a lot of ‘higher ranking Nazis’ including the commander of the Luftwaffe, Goring was put on trial here.
The authors photograph appeared in the newspaper back at home, much to the shock of his family back home as they didnt know what was happening to him, so i guess that for them it must have been a bit of a relief for them to see him in a safe environment.
I also didnt know that Goring killed himself the night before he was due to be executed. I thought that this was a bit of a way out for him, dying under his own terms other than being executed. However maybe i am looking at it from a modern perspective, as in this country the death penalty doesnt exsist anymore, but in other countries it does for war crimes.
At the end of the book there was a list of all the people put on trial and what the verdict was. So many of them were committed to death or put into prison for life. I wasnt aware that this happened after war. I hadnt really thought what would have happened to those that ordered and took part in those horriffic acts before.
What stands out for me the most is that in a couple of decades their wont be anybody left that fought during the second world war. They must not be forgotten, nor what their experiences were and this type of book is perfect for keeping the memory alive.
I enjoyed this book, its a fairly short book and its one that will stay with you for a long while.
Rating – 3.5/5