Item No. ABJ-8999
The Good Soldier
From Austrian Social Democracy
to Communist Captivity with a
Soldier of Panzer-Grenadier Division
by Alfred Novotny
Alfred Novotny was born in Vienna on 1 April 1924, and was perfectly
placed to suffer the ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting
times. His times were interesting and deadly, but that he survived them
is not the greatest surprise. Rather, what stands out is that Fred never lost
his compassion, nor his humanity, nor his mind.
Growing up in 1930s Vienna, the former home of a young, frustrated, and
fuming artist named Adolf Hitler, Fred was the stepson of a dedicated Social
Democrat. As such, he grew up with a visceral and deep dislike and distrust of
their rival parties, including the National Socialists, or Nazis.
Although the political situation in Austria throughout the 1930s was stormy,
the German annexation of Austria absolutely ended effective opposition to the
Attracted by the superficial benefits of unity with Germany and the evident
achievements of the Nazis, young Alfred gradually parted ways with his
stepfather. He performed his duty to the Reich when called up for service in
the Reich Labor Corps, and later proudly served in the most elite division of
the German Army in World War II, Panzer-Grenadier Division
Großdeutschland ("Greater Germany").
From 1942 forward, Fred saw more than his share of combat. Starting with
action as a member of a hurriedly-armed labor detachment in the famous British
naval and commando raid at St. Nazaire, France, in March 1942, Fred later
joined the Großdeutschland Division in time to participate in some of
the most well-knownand most bloody battles of the war on the Eastern Front.
During the Germans last great offensive in the Soviet Union in 1943, Fred
fought at Poltava and in the titanic clash of thousands of tanks at Kursk.
Wounded there, he later returned to his unit and fought in the long series of
fiercely-contested defensive battles that ended only when the Soviets occupied
much of eastern and central Germany and Austria. . . and when Hitler and the
Thousand Year Reich were finally destroyed.
Like so many members of German units, Fred was happy to surrender to the US
Army at the end of the war, but under the terms of inter-Allied agreements
reached months before, units which had fought only against the Soviets were
turned over to the Red Army, en masse. Thus began the ordeal after the
ordeal2½ years in Soviet prison camps.
After being freed from captivity by the Soviets, Fred eventually escaped
the old world and the old conflicts . . . and started a new life in the United
States, free of the competing "isms" of Europe that had wreaked
misery on millions.
Supported by detailed commentary by author/historian Marc Rikmenspoel, The
Good Soldier contains 62 illustrations, including original diagrams and
sketches drawn before the war and during the author's captivity; comprehensive
documentary authentication of the author's military service; and extensive
Size: 6"x9", Soft cover, 160 pages, 62 photos.