Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

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CaptNimmo
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Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

Post by CaptNimmo » 19 Aug 2007 08:44

I just read this account, "translated" by Tony Le Tissier. No picture of Altner, no biographical details other than a statement that he was a correspondent for some unnamed newspapers but Le Tissier has numerous WW2 books to his credit. To me it's a fictional account masquerading as a true story. Very disappointing as I really enjoy books written from the German perspective.

antwhiplash
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Post by antwhiplash » 16 Jan 2008 16:17

Would be interested to know why you thik this was a fictional account?
I have just finished reading it myself & what strikes me is that Helmut Altner could not have known exactly what was happening where & when at the time this book was published. If being written now it would be easy to fabricate, but in 1948 it would have been nearly impossible to know all he did of the fighting in different areas. The account was cleared originally by the American forces in 1948 (people did try to cash in) & also was researched by the translator & war author Tony le Tisier who has stated that the author had a knowledge of the battle of Berlin which was above what someone who wasn't involved could have known in 1948.
Ant.

g.altner
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Re: Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

Post by g.altner » 16 Sep 2009 21:13

Hi, just as I discover this website, I find interesting to see that someone could think that my father's account "Berlin Dance of Death" of his experience as a 17year old soldier fighting on the eastern front and in Berlin could be fictional. The original book which he wrote just after the war and for which he used a journal kept during the events was published in German ("Totentanz Berlin") by the Americans about 1948, but only at a run of 450 books. It was never re-edited. Only when Tony Le Tessier discovered one copy in Berlin and made contact that things changed. He undertook a lot of background research and found that all the details of the book matched his own findings. He added the background maps and documentry and translated it into English. It is only this year, 2 years after my father's death that it again has been published in German. GA

Nicolai
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Re: Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

Post by Nicolai » 23 Sep 2009 19:05

Read the English version earlier this year, nothing in it struck me as being potentially fictional.

CaptNimmo
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Re: Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

Post by CaptNimmo » 28 Oct 2009 17:51

g.altner wrote:Hi, just as I discover this website, I find interesting to see that someone could think that my father's account "Berlin Dance of Death" of his experience as a 17year old soldier fighting on the eastern front and in Berlin could be fictional. The original book which he wrote just after the war and for which he used a journal kept during the events was published in German ("Totentanz Berlin") by the Americans about 1948, but only at a run of 450 books. It was never re-edited. Only when Tony Le Tessier discovered one copy in Berlin and made contact that things changed. He undertook a lot of background research and found that all the details of the book matched his own findings. He added the background maps and documentry and translated it into English. It is only this year, 2 years after my father's death that it again has been published in German. GA
Fair enough. However, I am always suspicious of accounts with no background details of the author or more importantly photographs. THE FORGOTTON SOLDIER (a great read) by Guy Sajer falls in to this category. Perhaps it is genuine, perhaps not. Photos of the participants certainly helps my enjoyment (at least) of an autobiographic story.

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slacky
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Re: Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

Post by slacky » 13 Jul 2014 20:00

if I could ask is Berlin Dance of Death and berlin soldier the same book ? . i've read the berlin soldier and what a fantastic book

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krichter33
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Re: Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

Post by krichter33 » 14 Jul 2014 01:07

I'm curious too. I read Berlin Dance of Death, and would like to know is Berlin Soldier the same thing except in paperback?

Dutto1
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Re: Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

Post by Dutto1 » 17 Jul 2014 21:52

To answer the above questions yes Berlin Dance of Death and Berlin Soldier are the same book.

Regards,

Ron

Alanmccoubrey
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Re: Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 27 Jul 2014 20:09

CaptNimmo wrote:
g.altner wrote:Hi, just as I discover this website, I find interesting to see that someone could think that my father's account "Berlin Dance of Death" of his experience as a 17year old soldier fighting on the eastern front and in Berlin could be fictional. The original book which he wrote just after the war and for which he used a journal kept during the events was published in German ("Totentanz Berlin") by the Americans about 1948, but only at a run of 450 books. It was never re-edited. Only when Tony Le Tessier discovered one copy in Berlin and made contact that things changed. He undertook a lot of background research and found that all the details of the book matched his own findings. He added the background maps and documentry and translated it into English. It is only this year, 2 years after my father's death that it again has been published in German. GA
Fair enough. However, I am always suspicious of accounts with no background details of the author or more importantly photographs. THE FORGOTTON SOLDIER (a great read) by Guy Sajer falls in to this category. Perhaps it is genuine, perhaps not. Photos of the participants certainly helps my enjoyment (at least) of an autobiographic story.

FAIR ENOUGH ? Where are your manners ?
Alan

DougENash
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Re: Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

Post by DougENash » 05 Feb 2017 19:57

I just got a response back from the Deutsche Dienststelle - aka the WaSt - in Berlin. I sent in a tracing inquiring about Helmut Altner, listing his birthday, birthplace, date of entry into the Wehrmacht, and his Ersatztruppenteil. The official response I got back from the DD was that they have no records of an individual meeting that description ever having served in the Wehrmacht. So - either he used an assumed name when he penned his book (highly possible) or he made it all up. I believe the former is the case, though the latter wouldn't be that improbable either. Oh well, at least the DD didn't bill me! Still a good read though ---
Regards,
Doug Nash

Larso
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Re: Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

Post by Larso » 18 Jul 2019 12:36

What unit did he say he served in?

Ken S.
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Re: Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

Post by Ken S. » 18 Jul 2019 21:09

Couldn't the "no records of an individual meeting that description" simply mean they were just lost or destroyed at some point?

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I have questions
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Re: Helmut Altner - Berlin Soldier

Post by I have questions » 20 Dec 2019 03:21

Ken S. wrote:
18 Jul 2019 21:09
Couldn't the "no records of an individual meeting that description" simply mean they were just lost or destroyed at some point?
I was thinking the same, seeing as he was conscripted in March 1945, it wouldn't be farfetched to guess his records were destroyed or lost in the chaotic last few weeks of the war.

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