On this day, a century ago, my grandfather Hans Zapf was born in the city of Oschatz in Saxony. I don’t recall much of him, except for an old man sitting in his chair, solving his crossword-puzzles. I cannot remember him talking much, I don’t recall any stories that connect me with him. Unfortunately, in his lifetime, we did not have a relationship.
That, however, changed after he passed away in 1994. Hidden from his family – and discovered by coincidence – he had kept a secret treasure: a set of three diaries and about 700 black & white photographs describing his time in the German military in World War II. The complete account of an educated man, which in the months to come will be published through this website.
By researching his account and the general historic settings surrounding it, I have also started to discover my grandfather. But more importantly, I think that his account should not remain hidden and kept from public.
His diaries will take us back in time, to 1940, and to the War in the West, his time on the British Channel and later the nine hundred days at Leningrad. I am trying to present what my grandfather has in his diaries but I will amend it with the official sources and today’s known history to put things into perspective.
This is not an account given for glory, this is an account given to learn from – because only if we know our history, we can prevent repeating the errors of the past. Given that the first entry in his diary is dated January 11th, 1940 I will post the first entries January 11th, 2015 – 75 years after he had started his account.