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Wolfram The Boy Who Went to War by Giles Milton

Wolfram The Boy Who Went to War

Biography / Autobiography   The Real World   

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Wolfram Aichele is the author’s Father-in-law and gradually over many conversations Giles Milton heard the story you read here. Encapsulating the experience of liberal Germans through the 1930’s as Hitler rose to power, it is chilling to read the mechanisms put in place to halt dissent - the block captains, the threat of informers, the compulsory parades and events. Protest and you were likely to end up dead or in Dachau. With his family skating on the edges of permitted behaviour, Wolfram is called up and torn from his art studies, makes a very reluctant soldier. And here the story divides into two, the story of Wolfram’s military experience and later as a prisoner-of-war and that of his family, left at home trying to stay out of trouble, coping with bombing and lack of food as they anxiously await news of their son. A first rate personal history, a valuable insight into living under a totalitarian regime and how hope can still be kept alive.

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Wolfram The Boy Who Went to War by Giles Milton

The Allied bombers screamed in from the sea, spilling hundreds of shells onto the troops below. As the air filled with exploding shrapnel, one young German soldier flung himself into a ditch and prayed that his ordeal would soon be over. Wolfram Aichele was nine years old when Hitler came to power: his formative years were spent in the shadow of the Third Reich. He and his parents - free-thinking artists - were to have first hand experience of living under one of the most brutal regimes in history. Wolfram: The Boy Who Went to War overturns all the cliches about life under Hitler. It is a powerful story of warfare and human survival and a reminder that civilians on all sides suffered the consequences of Hitler's war. It is also an eloquent testimony to the fact that even in times of exceptional darkness there remains a brilliant spark of humanity that can never be totally extinguished.


'a remarkable narrative of [Wolfram] Aichele's life during the Nazi regime, written by his son-in-law Giles Milton.'
Irish Times

'Engrossing ... Milton's book celebrates the heroism of individuals who put lives before ideologies'

'as a portrait of how these civilised individuals were able to survive, this is invaluable.'
Daily Express

'Besides being moving and readable, Milton's social history provides a sympathetic counterbalance to the idea that all wartime Germans were Hitler's willing executioners .'
Mail on Sunday

'a delight to read.'

'Milton's book is no apology for the Third Reich - rather it is the very human, horrifying story of an ordinary German boy and his family of free-thinking artists, none of whom supported Hitler's politics and all of whom suffered great hardships.'

'Milton's writing, too, is first-rate. Engaging, poignant and vivid, he wrings just the right amount of pathos from his story, and shifts seamlessly between the varying voices of his narrative... a very valid and interesting book'
BBC History Magazine

'idiosyncratic and utterly fascinating'
Mail on Sunday

About the Author

Giles Milton

Giles Milton is a writer and journalist. He has contributed articles for most of the British national newspapers as well as many foreign publications and specialises in the history of travel and exploration. In the course of his researches, he has travelled extensively in Europe and the Middle East.

Photograph © Niall McDiarmid

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Giles Milton

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Biography / Autobiography
The Real World



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