Life as a WW2 German tank driver

Discussion in 'Past Life Memories' started by tanker, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. tanker

    tanker Senior Registered

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    I have known my past life as a German soldier since the age of three, or possibly a bit earlier. It is the only past life I'm aware of. Here's a brief summary of my experience ...

    Around the age of three I tried to involve my aunt in a 'war game' in which I told her who I was, and how I died. Her reaction was horror and anger that I should even say the word 'German'. This put so much shame into me that I never told my parents, and tried to put it out of my mind for nearly 40 years. However, throughout childhood I continued to have nightmares every night, reliving my death in Stalingrad (by flame thrower) over and over.

    Although I had pushed my identity into the back of my mind, it came out in many other ways. Certainly my obsession with tanks, which my family found inexplicable. I would dress in military-style clothing when young, and was obsessive about the smartness of my school uniform. The beginning of school term after the summer was a high spot because going back into uniform was a heart-lifting experience. I always loved order and self-discipline. I did hang a German recruitment poster on the bedroom wall, but if my family had thoughts on that I never knew.

    In middle age I found a German-Jewish friend I could at last confide in and the memories came pouring out. Other than that I have lived a life mainly 'in hiding' as I felt too guilty ever to open up to my parents. It is only in the past few years, since the death of my parents, that I have spoken about such things to other people, and then only to a couple of good friends I can trust.

    Today I am anti-war, anti-politics. There are things I saw in war that I don't ever want to speak of. I was a very ordinary soldier, doing my duty (sometimes reluctantly) but uneasy about the Nazi ideology even then. Having said that, the sight of the old battle flag makes my heart soar, as do the old marching songs. I feel more like a war veteran than someone with a past life. It's still with me, almost every hour of the day. I have never come to terms with the loss of my Kameraden, and feel great sadness every day. One in particular I loved dearly, and still do. I find it hard to understand why I have not been reunited with him in this life.

    Last year I wrote a memoir - in the form of a novel - which I haven't yet tried to have published as I don't know where to send it. My whole story of discovery is in there. It was 'dictated' (at talking pace) by my former self before I did any research or any kind of investigation into the subject, and the style was nothing like my present self would have written. In addition to that, my former self did the same thing (at the same pace) with a series of war poems set in and around a German cemetery. There are things which my present self would not have thought, known or written in both cases. Only now have I begun to look at German archives etc., which has reinforced my experience, but not helped in finding my grave, which is sad but understandable.

    It is a relief to have discovered this forum, and although I am reluctant to share such things it is reassuring to have somewhere one can be believed without being thought a crank. I have never felt it necessary to prove anything. It would make no difference to me, only to other people. I hope someone here will find this interesting. There's a lot more I could say, but will leave till later.
     
  2. Jim78

    Jim78 Senior Registered

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    Hi tanker.

    I can relate. I feel like a war veteran too. Welcome to the forum.
     
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  3. briski

    briski Senior Registered

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    Welcome to the forum tanker, there are lots of other soldiers from previous lives here. You'll be in good company
     
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  4. tanker

    tanker Senior Registered

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    Hi Jim - thank you for the welcome. What was your war?
     
  5. Jim78

    Jim78 Senior Registered

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    My last fight was the Irish War Of Independence and the Irish Civil War. I was killed by a bullet to the head in an ambush so my last life death was probably quicker than yours tanker.
     
  6. tanker

    tanker Senior Registered

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    A bullet to the head would definitely have been preferable. I imagine the flame thrower was aimed at something else and caught me in the back by accident, as I survived it briefly. I remember the sound more than anything. When I was a child I couldn't bear my back being touched. When my father used a small flame thrower in the garden when I was young, I went berserk at the sound, and he was never able to use it again.
     
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  7. Jim78

    Jim78 Senior Registered

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    Yea I can relate. I jump at loud bangs nowadays.

    There's loads of children's past lives on this site that describe childhood pl experiences like yours too. You should browse them.

    A bullet to the head was quick enough but I still get pain behind my left eye at times. I have a birthmark too:

    http://reincarnationforum.com/threads/birthmark.7373/

    Have any distinguishing features or traits carried over from your past life or is there any possible connections?
     
  8. Whippoorwill

    Whippoorwill Senior Registered

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    Welcome, @tanker. Thank you for sharing your memories, I'm glad you've found us! It was the Italian Wars for me, my horse rearing, a rock to my left temple and then a pike to the chest. I was born with a hole in my heart in this life, which seems oddly apt. All my other war memories are as a civilian, in the battle camps of Scotland and then in England during both World Wars.
     
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  9. tanker

    tanker Senior Registered

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    Strange how these things carry on. I have a birthmark on my back, yes. Although it is small compared with what it must have been like. Mostly the back is very sensitive and irritates me.
     
  10. tanker

    tanker Senior Registered

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    Thank you for the welcome. Interesting that you remember several lives, all during war. Did you enjoy wartime in some way? Very interesting about the hole in the heart. Seems a bit unfair, though.
     
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  11. Jim78

    Jim78 Senior Registered

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    Yea tanker. Its funny how they carry on but I find many similarities between lives too and sometimes opposites with ranges of experience in between.
     
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  12. fireflydancing

    fireflydancing just a fly in the sky Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Hi @tanker,

    Welcome to the forum. You’re not alone, there’s people like you here.
     
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  13. tanker

    tanker Senior Registered

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    Thanks for your welcome, firefly. Means a lot to know I'm not alone.
     
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  14. tanker

    tanker Senior Registered

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    Does anyone else recall snippets of conversation from their past memories? Smells? Anything else?
     
  15. BenjaminFR

    BenjaminFR Senior Member

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    Hello Tanker, it's a very interesting discovery to read your story.

    You're far from alone here and I hope you will gain as much peace as I did, sharing with other members of the forum.

    The subject you raised is resonating a lot within me, as I remember dying in a German Panzer, in 1943 during the Kursk offensive. It's a very sad way to go, I'm sure you will agree.

    As for your last question, yes indeed, I do have a lot of small memories from that previous experience. Lots of random things, voices (sadly all of them being from the army life), smells (cordite and oil!) and military reflexes (like always feeling more comfortable walking next to a wall on the sidewalk). But these don't bother me anymore.

    I also relate a lot when you say you hate war and politics. I feel the same, to the point where I dislike group dynamics and places/structures where you are told what to think and how to act. Funny I think because my memories are all from a very disciplined organization :)

    Welcome and I look forward to read your future posts!

    Benjamin
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
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  16. Jim78

    Jim78 Senior Registered

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    I recall a tenth century conversation with my then life brother. Don't ask me how I knew what the conversation was about though. I just knew when I saw it ( maybe because my soul had experienced it before ).


    I told my brother I would not surrender and would continue to fight. He looked at me with an "Huh! Are you nuts" look but he knew I'd made up my mind. My stubbornness and ruthlessness always surprised people though. I dunno why. What initially seems like madness is eventually seen as genius in my experience.
     
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  17. Whippoorwill

    Whippoorwill Senior Registered

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    Hi @tanker, no, I definitely hated wartime! I think war just intertwines human experience unfortunately and happened to be part of the historical period I lived in. In medieval France I definitely wasn't born to fight, I was quite a gentle soul but was forced to join the war, although I luckily saw very little combat, as I recall, filling in for a Herald who had been killed - although that comes with it's own shame which I should probably post on my own thread at some point! I do remember excitement in the battle camp in my Scottish life, waiting to say goodbye to my brothers, although I believe the politics of the time would later take the life of my husband. And then I lost my young sweetheart in WWI and lived through WWII, so war has a lot to answer for in my lives! I do have vague memories of two more peaceful lives, which are much more pleasant to remember, although I only have a few vague impressions of those.

    As to conversations, I recall some, I wouldn't say I ever hear them though, it's more that I know the gist of what was said, if that makes any sense, much like remembering some conversations in this life, I suppose (edited to add that I've just seen @Jim78's post above and agree 100% with his description). I haven't had any smells so far, which is odd as I'm quite sensitive to unexplained smells in my current life!

    I'm sorry to hear you are still troubled by your back. I'm sure that trauma is a deep one to heal. I think my heart issue was just a fluke, but it's interesting to think about!
     
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  18. tanker

    tanker Senior Registered

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    Hi Benjamin - thanks very much for your welcome, and it's wonderful to meet a fellow tanker. I read your story before I joined, and it's one of the reasons I felt I could participate. I've been alone in this for a very long time, and it's a strange thought now to be sharing memories.

    Unlike you, I didn't die inside the tank, which had always been my greatest fear. I'm sorry that you had to go through that. My tank was hit, but all of us got out. In the smoke and chaos I was running for my life, but I was half deafened and blinded and everything around was rubble, so I was just scrambling around, unarmed, in desperation. I couldn't even see the rest of my crew. I heard the flame thrower behind me before I felt it. That terrible sound is imprinted on my consciousness to this day and still fills me with terror. I survived for a few seconds afterwards, but saw nothing but flashing lights before there was blackness. This was all somewhere near Stalingrad - not sure if we were in the city itself or not, although I remember rubble and a twisted metal structure in my sight. It was the end of 1942. In a way I'm relieved to have died than, rather than suffer the fate of the 6th Army men, especially our poor brothers who were captured.

    I've read about the Kursk battle, but it's unimaginable to me, that kind of warfare. Our fighting was more at a distance.

    I mainly drove Panzer IV, although I seem to recall a smaller one as well. I never drove a Tiger. When I first visited a tank museum, the thing that floored me was the smell of the oil. It was so familiar that I drank it in with a kind of ecstasy. I wanted to stay in there for ever. I spent days in that museum, just to be amongst tanks again.

    Do you remember your crew? Mine are surprisingly vague, with the exception of our loader, who was a 17-year-old I took under my wing. He came to us late, after our original loader was wounded.

    The friend I miss so much was in 1st SS Leibstandarte, and had a younger brother who was in Das Reich. We met in '37. I remember Berlin from then, but have never been back. I'm still in two minds whether to do that.

    I never learned German, but like you, I still remember certain words connected with the war. I have no vocabulary, but I can read the words with the correct pronunciation, so I'm told.

    It's fascinating to read your story and compare how the experience has left us. As I said, I feel more like a war veteran than having had a past life. I loved the army life, and it's all I can remember from that time. I have no memory of where I grew up, or my parents there. Nothing but army days, and a few men from that time. Unlike you, I still enjoy the structured discipline of being told what to do. I'm certainly not a leader, but then I was only a very ordinary soldier, with no aspirations (or abilities) towards your kind of high rank. The ideological differences between me and my SS Kamerad were noticeable, and disturbed me at the time, but he was nevertheless a decent man and I can only hope he committed no atrocities. I prefer not to think about that possibility.

    I am envious of your meeting the family of who you once were. That must be a life-changing experience. I have nothing left from those days, other than memories. Like so many, I just disappeared without trace. All I can do is share what I know. My novel, if it ever gets to print, is an attempt for myself and the men I knew not to be forgotten. We are not in the history books. Nothing but shadows.
     
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  19. tanker

    tanker Senior Registered

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    I agree about war. I too was a gentle soul, and still am. It wasn't the fighting that I liked, exciting at times though that was. It was the closeness of my Kameraden. I have no other past lives to compare with my one and only.

    Interestingly, I did wonder if I might have been in medieval France too perhaps ... I studied medieval French at uni, and love that period, and the old language. And the troubadour songs. I did have some strange feelings when I visited some of those historical places too. Still, I can only cope with all the angst of one past at the moment ...
     
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  20. BenjaminFR

    BenjaminFR Senior Member

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    Hello Tanker,

    I want to thank you a lot for your kind message. I wrote my story hoping that one day someone who relates might find that my words makes them feel less alone. I know it was the worst for me not to be able to really share with someone who understands. So reading your message made me feel extraordinary inside.

    I am sorry to read how you passed. This war was the absolute abyss in terms of violence.. I too saw dying in the Tank as the worst possible way. I mean it was, during wartime, a very probable cause of death, and every tabker knew and witnessed it. But it got very real when the first round hit us. The shock was brutal and it completely stunned me, actually. I had to see both corpses in front to realize that both my driver and machinegunner were gone, and only thing I thought was "I need to reply, reply, reply". But whensaw my loader loosing it, I knew I'd never set foot on the ground ever again.. and yeah the realization came as bluntly as possible. I am actually glad I didn't feel the second round. I think it hit from the same angle on my turret, but I hardly felt anything. Because I saw the Panzer burning from outside after, and I hope none of us inside was still alive when our ammunition load caught on fire.

    But yeah.. there was no pleasant way to go on this front.

    Kursk was indeed a nightmare. I actually remember better the whole period prior to the offensive, from the Kharkov battle which happened 5 months prior. Kursk was a nonsense from a tactical perspective, for us officers. We relied on fast breakthrough and fast progress, using some element of surprise. But every **** soldier looking at a map of frontline in June 1943 would have guessed that the germans would try to curb that salient. And we had every square centimeter of the field mapped and photographed, we knew the russians were changing tactics and preparing defense lines as far as 200kms behind the frontline. We also knew that we had Guards regiments facing us, which were elite. We knew that they would fight hard.

    So we knew very much that it'd be steel against steel.

    For Kursk, ont the southern spearhead, the 1-SS-Leibstandarte was sided with Das Reich and Totenkopf, and it was at the time the most brutally large amount of firepower from Elite divisions we had gathered on such a small spearhead. I actually remembered clearly that we mentioned "Unternehmen Gericht" during the preparation of the assault, which i found later was the codename of the Verdun operation in 1916. Just to give you an idea of the mindset we were in.

    I don't have other memories of my crew, also, apart from the final moments. I think Eugen moved from his "home" division (Reich) to follow one of the few men I clearly remember (Matthias Kleinhesterkamp) who was a higher ranking officer in the Waffen-SS who i believe took me under his protection, and then was moved to the Totenkopf division when it was rebuilt after the Demjansk pocket bloodbath, as a commander of their PanzerAbteilung. So I think I didn't have a super close relation to my crew, or should I say crews because I think that crewmembers would switch rather often.

    So yeah. I feel for those poor guys. Kursk was a carnage, just as every operation brought its load of corpses.

    You mentioned a very interesting point when you talked about the relationship with our Kameraden. I remember the camaradery so well. It's brotherhood. I miss it sometimes, the link we had. I can honestly say I have never experienced myself, in this life, such a form of brotherhood. War and years of fighting brought us to a level of trust and dedication that is impossible to understand. Especially in the SS where we thought that we were the ones who had to do what others couldn't. We'd fight like no one else fights. Of course Eugen realized that the Russians were fighting the same way, with the same brave heart. When he understood that, he realized that the war was going to lead to the destruction of either Germany or USSR.

    As for having the chance to witness his descendance and meet his family, it was a blessing indeed to tell them who Eugen really was. I still believe that it happened because it had to happen, and I am grateful for having had the chance to experience it.

    Thank you, overall, for bringing your story out for us to read and be inspired from. Know that, all the way to China, where I am right now, I feel deeply blessed to read the words of another man who has gone through this hell and comes here to tell us what the sacrificed have to say.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
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