Facing Death for the First Time

Returning back to Heidelager with an SS-Unterscharführer's rank, the serious life of a soldier began. At first he was sent under Nevel. There he faced death for the first time.

During one battle a grenade exploded near Harald. Its 28 splinters, some smaller than barley grits, went into his foot and back. But our hero did not spend a day in a hospital… the splinters were taken out with tweezers, band aids were put on the wounds and he was as good as new! "I got wounded largely because of my own stupidity. We were in trenches under Nevel, a stone throw away from the Russians. I saw a grenade coming from their side with a high curve. We had this system worked out that we catch the grenade and quickly throw it back, in worst case scenario we would beat off the grenade with our hands. Some men used to joke by pulling the detonator off from a Russian hand grenade, put the grenade under their helmet and then sat on it. This time the grenade slipped from my fingers and exploded directly behind me: 28 splinters were operated out. Now I have been thinking: I was lucky that it didn't explode in my hands." One bigger splinter has been Harald's companion to this day to remind him the Nevel battles.

There was another memorable incident. One day they received an order – a nine-men group has to go to the enemy's homefront and bring the "tongue". One of these men was Harald. But exactly before leaving he was replaced by another man. The group went and none of them returned. How these nine men died is unknown.