Here are three of the outstanding questions, in which I hope that the war diary of the Dunkirk garrison can provide information - and the google-translator made the job:
My father told me about a general fire ban for the last two or three days because Donitz was already negotiating with Montgomery. As a result, fishing by explosives (grenades?) was prohibited, which he and his comrades in the harbor before their accommodation in the administrative building of the refinery / oil port to improve the diet had previously been happy to operate.
In Frisius' personal diary, on the 5th of May, heavy artillery fire, including barrage fire the next day, and his demand as to whether Dunkirk had accidentally or deliberately been omitted from the negotiated truce for the northwest. And on May 3, he wrote in his diary that he now wants to combat attacks by the enemy more than before, to strengthen the fighting spirit of the troops.
Must have been rather a violent shooting. Here is now statement against statement. Although a Czech siege soldier for a BBC project spoke of heavy artillery fire at the end of the siege, too. But when was my father and his comrades forbidden to "dynamite fishing"? Or did that happen sooner to save ammunition?
My father also reported that he and his comrades had to hand over weapons to various assembly stations in the city before Vice-Admiral Frisius officially surrendered to General Liska.
In the case of the contemporary witnesses cited in the book by Patrick Odonne, on the other hand, the impression arises that the soldiers marched off armed and had only left their weapons at a single post outside the city.
Does the war diary clear up this?
- When exactly did the march to captivity take place in Zedelgem? On May 8, Frisius received the transfer order by radio, on the morning of May 9, he signed the surrender. Consequently, was the garrison ready to march on May 8, or was this only initiated after the capitulation? Or did the soldiers pack their things and march on May 10 (gaining time and tasting the fact that they had not been defeated)?
Many things are fading in memory, others are re-composed or wrongly sorted in time. My father tries to reconstruct exactly the individual days of his short stay in Dunkirk. Which, however, he finds difficult, since he was only in the consciousness of an imminent end of the war in the beleaguered city can be exchanged. So he longed for the end and thought of nothing else, but there was little left of his ministry in his consciousness. So he can not remember the reception of the exchanged soldiers on April 18, read at Frisius. However, the Vice Admiral also writes of volunteers from the prisoner of war camp Ostend. My father, however, was previously unprotected on a meadow on the Rhine near Cleves.
But he remembers the highly decorated and rather daring Major Turk, under whose leadership he had to complete a two-day guard in Pont-de-Spycker. And with whom he took the approximately 60-kilometer walk into the Belgian captivity.
In general, my dad remembers the short time in Dunkirk as calm and sure. He can´t remember any bombardment by planes or artillery drumfire - which probably throws a clear light on his impressions of the Battle of Ibbenbüren.
On the plate landed with him and his comrades - except the fish from the harbor - especially leeks. Leek in all variants, the Frisius often mentioned at this time spring cauliflower was already eaten. As nice as it was for my dad to be able to eat fresh vegetables every day under the given conditions, he is still unable to eat, see, or smell leeks.
Unfortunately, a search on the internet did not yield any results regarding the german war diary of the fortress Dunkirk for the period from 18 April to 9 May 1945. My father and I are grateful for every tip.
Thanks a lot,