Willy Wenger

A close encounter between wartime rivals only revealed 74 years later

Published by carolyn on Fri, 2016-08-26 16:51

On August 28, 1942, kite-flying four-year-old John Lewthwaite of St. Just, Cornwall got a "cheery wave" from Lt. Poldi Wenger as he flew by at very low level on his way to Penzance.

By Carolyn Yeager
copyright 2016 Carolyn Yeager

IT'S A STORY THAT ALWAYS BEGGED TO BE TOLD, but the sensitivities of the English concerning the bombing by Germany in 1940-42 made it one that John Lewthwaite was hesitant to tell. Even today.

So he wrote to me with his tale.

The encounter took place seventy-four years ago this month on August 28, as he remembered it. Lewthwaite was only 4 years old, but he's sure of what he experienced on that summer afternoon while out flying kites with a friend, in a field just north of Lands End.

Leopold Wenger's Childhood

Published by carolyn on Thu, 2013-09-19 05:40

Childhood

By Willy Wenger

copyright 2013 Wilhelm Wenger and Carolyn Yeager

The Odyssey of Fahnenjunker Wenger (Part Two)

Published by carolyn on Fri, 2013-04-26 14:45

The Odyssey of Fahnenjunker Wenger

Part Two - Conclusion

From the Seelow Heights—April 1945

Back Home to Leoben, Austria—July 1945

By Willy Wenger

An officer-candidate in the German Luftwaffe, Willy Wenger was only 18 in 1945 when his “odyssey” began. He is now 86. His older brother Leopold Wenger was awarded the Knight’s Cross, Germany's highest military decoration.

Translation and Introduction by Wilhelm Kriessmann

Editing by Carolyn Yeager
copyright 2013 Wilhelm Wenger and Carolyn Yeager

From April 20th onward - the final days of the Reich - 18 year old Willy Wenger was involved in the Battle for Berlin. His story continues right after receiving his first wound as he covered for German civilians trapped inside the cellar of a house. As he attempted a peek out the front door to check conditions, a Russian grenade exploded close to it. A grenade fragment struck his hand, bringing forth profuse bleeding.

For the time being we escaped hell; it was insanity what we tried to accomplish near the Sparre Platz next to a waterfront. (I still carry the grenade fragment in the ball of my left hand. I feel it only when I hit something accidentally.) We marched back to the Maikaefer barracks.

The long row of barracks on Chausseestrassee as it appeared in 1910.


I was sent to a first aid station to get properly bandaged and to receive a tetanus shot. Marching on, I was informed that it was the famous Hotel Adlon on the Unter den Linden, close to the Brandenburg Gate, where I could get help. With ruins and wreckage all around, I tried first to cross the wide Unter den Linden avenue – impossible with continual rocket fire from the Stalin Organ batteries. So I found the subway entrance and finally entered the Adlon, my first encounter with my future profession.

The Odyssey of Fahnenjunker Wenger

Published by carolyn on Tue, 2013-04-16 18:59

Exclusive at carolynyeager.net! This is the never-before-published true story of a young German soldier thrown into the battle of Seelow Heights in the last month of the Second World Warhow he survived against all odds and managed to return home.

The Odyssey of Fahnenjunker Wenger

From the Seelow Heights—April 1945

Back Home to Leoben, Austria—July 1945

By Willy Wenger

An officer-candidate in the German Luftwaffe, Willy Wenger was only 18 in 1945 when his “odyssey” began. He is now 86. His older brother Leopold Wenger was awarded the Knight’s Cross, Germany's highest military decoration.

Translation and Introduction by Wilhelm Kriessmann

Editing by Carolyn Yeager
copyright 2013 Wilhelm Wenger and Carolyn Yeager

For the 17-year-old high school student Willy Wenger, his brother "Poldi," squadron leader at SG10 of the German Luftwaffe, was an outstanding role model. Willy wanted to follow in the footsteps of this highly decorated Jabo* pilot, who was five years older than himself. In July 1942, Willy received his C license for glider pilots (pictured at right on glider) and in April 1943 at the Reichssegelflugschule Spitzerberg near Vienna, he earned the Luftfahrerschein (air pilot pass). (See picture below)

[*Jagdbomber: fighter-bomber ]

The war situation in the spring of 1943 made it necessary to call up the final classes of high school students to the services of the Home Anti-Aircraft Forces, or FLAK. Wenger’s high school class assembled at barracks within the steel plant of the Herman Goering Werke (later named Voest-Alpine) at Linz/Donau. School lessons continued but the young pupils also had to learn how to handle the 3.7cm anti-aircraft guns and all the additional equipment.

Above: Wenger earns his basic pilot's license in 1943 at the flying school at Spitzerberg.


Because of injuries at gun practices, Willy was able to spend a furlough at home in Leoben at the same time his older brother 'Poldi, the Luftwaffen pilot, also arrived back home for a short leave.