Hans-Günter Dohrmann

Hans-Günter Dohrmann was born on 28 december 1927 in the city of Bremen. On 20 January 1944, at the age of 16, Hans was called up to the Wehrbezirkskommando of Bremen as army-draftee. Hans was deemed fit for army service but he had to fullfill his labour service first. On the 6th of June 1944, the same day the Allied invasion started in Normandy, Hans was conscripted in the Reichsarbeitsdienst (nation labour service). On 10 september 1944 Hans was released from the Reichsarbeitsdienst. He had done his labour duty.

After about 3 weeks Hans had to go to the Army. Hans was send to the SS in early oktober 1944. If it was his own choice or was forced to do so is not known to me. Hans got his basic army training with SS-Panzergrenadier-Ausbildungs-und-Ersatz-Bataillon 17 in Iglau (Mähren, Czech). On 9 November 1944 Hans was sworn-in to the Führer. On 7 December 1944 it was noted that Hans might be suitable for a leader function, this depended on his future frontservice. Therefore Hans became a "Führer-bewerber" (possible leader candidate) but still had the SS-Grenadier (soldier) rank.

Hans was trained on the standart K98k rifle, the Pistole 08 and 38, the light MG, handgranates, panzerfaust and the panzerschreck. Hans ended his training very well, without any punishments and his leadership was noted as "very good".
In the Wehrpass they noted that Hans's primairy job was messager and second rifleman.

On 26 January 1945 Heinrich Himmler gave the order to create a new SS-Panzergrenadier-Division. Due to the 12 year aniversary of the NSDAP power-rise, the Division was to be made on the 30th of January and therefore bare the nickname "30. Januar". The creation of the 32.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division "30. Januar" was hastly done in a few days on the Kurmark army training area. The Division was understrenght and most of the soldiers were fresh new recruits without any frontline experience. Some didn't even complete their basic training yet. Some boys were only soldiers for a few weeks. Due to the fact that it wasn't possible to give the Division the needed vehicles and gasoline it was re-named from Panzergrenadier-Division to Grenadier-Division. 75% of the soldiers in the Division were 18-24 years old.

On the 30th of January 1945 Hans was send from his trainings unit to a front-unit, this was the 32.SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division "30 Januar". Hans went to his new unit by train via Dresden to Lieberose where they unloaded and continued on a foot-march to Friedland, then Grunow and finaly Riessen on the 10th of February. Hans was put in the 6th Company, second bataillon, of SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Regiment 86 "Schill", this Regiment was one of the few that was filled with experienced soldiers.

The Russians had crossed the Oder river in Germany on several places. SS-Division "30 Januar" was ordered to halt the Russian advance. As the Division was not yet ready, only parts of it went into combat in early February. The units were ordered to destroy the Russian bridgehead at the town of Vogelsang. In the area of combat was a large factory named "E-Werk" with 2 high chimneys that marked the area. This factory changed hands several times with many deaths. Hans's unit participated in the battles in middle February to capture the E-Werk factory. The losses of the Division in February were high. 314 soldiers died, 1385 became wounded and 87 missing. A total loss of 1786 soldiers in the first month of combat.

The E-Werk factory near Vogelsang

March 1945 started with large artillery barages against Hans's Regiment after which the Russians attacked on the whole front of the Regiment. The few houses left in German hand were captured by the Russians. But the I.Bataillon of Hans's Regiment was able to re-capture them in the coming days. On the 3rd of March 1945 Hans was hit by shrapnell in the head at Vogelsang. But he survived. The second month of combat for the Division, March 1945, proofed to be costly as well with a total of 2190 losses (407 deaths, 1447 wounded and 336 soldiers missing).

The town of Vogelsang in 1945, Copyright Rolf Michaelis

How long Hans was in the hospital is unknown to me. I do not know if he returned to his unit. His unit was pushed back all the way into the large forrest area south of Berlin. Here the Division was caught up in the so called "Hable kessel". This large encirclement of German troops was casatrophic. The Germans suffered many deaths. The Russians fired with whatever they had on hand into the pocket. Almost each shell hitting something. The Division got whiped out. A few survivors were able to break out towards the Americans. In April 1945 Hans's Kompanie awarded the Verwundetenabzeichen in Schwarz to Hans for the combat wound that he received.

The administration box with part of its content displayed

Here in this Halbe pocket Hans's Kompanie either lost or hid the company administration box in late April or early May. About 50-60 years later a lucky German amature-historican finds this box with a metaldetector.

The box was water-tight and still full of paper items of the soldiers in the 6th company. Including Hans's Wehrpass, SS-Stammkarte, Verwundetenabzeichen certificate and another document.

I was able to buy all of Hans's documents except the Verwundetenabzeichen certificate. I did however receive a copy of the original certificate and a copy of a list with other Verwundetenabzeichen recipients. I was told that the original verwundetenabzeichen certificates had not yet been signed and stamped by the unit. They got sold seperatly. But at some time unfortunately someone added signatures and stamps to them to increase their value. I hope that i can find the original certificate one day and add it to this grouping.

Hans-Günter Dohrmann survived the war and died on 20 March 2000.
Hans is burried at the Kirchfriedhof in Bremen-Oslebshausen.