Screams of the Drowning

From the Eastern Front to the Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff

Klaus Willmann

Date Published :
April 2021
Publisher :
Greenhill Books
Contributor(s) :
Roger Moorhouse, Eva Burke
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781784385989

Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 224
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The incredible, true story of how one soldier survived the numerous perils and hardships of war to return home.

This is the true story of how one soldier experienced the horrors and bloodshed of World War II — and lived to tell the tale.

Hans Fackler, like many boys his age, was conscripted into the Wehrmacht at the age of seventeen and sent to the Eastern Front. A pioneer in the infantry, he barely survived the carnage of the front lines and lost comrades to the Russian forces.

Eventually, Hans suffered a grievous injury from a grenade explosion. No longer able to fight, he found himself drugged on morphine and on board the controversial Wilhelm Gustloff, an armed military transport ship for SS, Gestapo and Wehrmacht personnel, which operated under the guise of transporting civilians.

The Gustloff was attacked and sunk by Russian torpedoes, drowning more than 9,000 passengers. Rescued by a German freighter, Hans recuperated in a military hospital near Erfurt in the Harz, which subsequently fell into the Russian zone. He escaped and undertook the arduous task of walking almost 200 miles back home to Bavaria.

The extraordinary first-person account of one of the few soldier-survivors of the sinking of the Gustloff, it also includes Hans’ experiences of taking part in the Kiev and the Vercors mountains massacres in 1941 and 1944 respectively.

About The Author

Klaus Willmann is a forester and customs officer by profession. He discovered writing as a new vocation and has since published a number of books, including The 188 U-Boat and Death March Through Russia. Willmann lives in Grafing, near Munich.

Roger Moorhouse is a historian of the Third Reich. He is the author of the acclaimed Berlin at War and Hitler's Third Reich in 100 Objects and has been published in more than twenty languages. He has contributed to He Was My Chief, I Was Hitler's Chauffeur and With Hitler to the End (all Frontline Books). He is also a tour guide, a book reviewer and a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Warsaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @Roger_Moorhouse.

Eva Burke grew up in Vienna and then Zug, Switzerland. She graduated from Brandeis University, Massachusetts with a BA and MA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Studies. She translated and helped research The True Story of the Christmas Truce (Greenhill Books) and I Somehow Survived (Greenhill Books). She lives in London with her husband, four children and three grandchildren.


"...contains new eyewitness material and keen insights into the mind of German defeat."

- The Saber and Scroll Journal

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