Witness to the Storm By Werner T. Angress

By Werner T. Angress

On June 6, 1944, Werner T. Angress parachuted down from a C-47 into German-occupied France with the 82nd Airborne Division. Nine days later, he was captured behind enemy lines and, concealing his identity as a German-born Jew, became a prisoner of war. Eventually, he was freed by US forces, rejoined the fight, crossed Europe as a battlefield interrogator, and participated in a concentration camp’s liberation. Although he was an American soldier, less than ten years before, he had been an enthusiastically patriotic German-Jewish boy. Rejected and threatened by the Nazi regime, the Angress family fled to Amsterdam to escape persecution and death, and young Angress then found his way to the United States. 

In Witness to the Storm, Angress weaves the spellbinding story of his life, including his escape from Germany, his new life in the United States, and his experiences in World War II. A testament to the power of perseverance and forgiveness, Witness to the Storm is the compelling tale of one man’s struggle to rescue the country that had betrayed him.

Reader Reviews

As a World War II buff, this book provides great insight into an area underrepresented in most history books, that of the immigrant soldiers serving the US army in various capacities. This story highlights one man’s journey as a German Jewish refugee in the US, who joined the army to become a German integrator under the 82nd airborne. Brought back to the European theater, Tom Angress parachuted into Normandy, fought in the battle of the bulge, and describes in amazing detail the horror, the excitement, and even the humorous aspects of being an interrogator, sometimes behind enemy lines. 

It also happens to be my Father’s story, but the reader should know that this autobiography was written by a future history professor. His meticulous focus on detail will leave the reader with a great appreciation for his journey, as evidenced by the fact that he kept a diary of events from the moment he dropped into Normandy even while captured by the enemy. It is a fascinating tale that I encourage you to read.

~ Dan

Werner T. Angress analyses his situation as a boy and teenager in pre-war Berlin, even going so far as to explaining why he regretted not having been eligible for the Hitler Youth and describing how the Jewish youth organizations used the same blood-and-soil rhetoric as the Hitler Youth. Then his family’s narrow escape to Amsterdam where the Gestapo finally caught his father, and then – with a lot of suspense – his activity as an American Soldier on D-day and in the Ardennes. 

All reported very level-headedly, with little emotion and no exaggeration, sometimes even with a little sympathy for the misled German Soldiers and civilians, in spite of the atrocities that he witnessed in the Wobbelin concentration camp.

~Jens

About the Author

On June 6, 1944, Werner T. Angress parachuted down from a C-47 into German-occupied France with the 82nd Airborne Division. Nine days later, he was captured behind enemy lines and, concealing his identity as a German-born Jew, became a prisoner of war. Eventually, he was freed by US forces, rejoined the fight, crossed Europe as a Battlefield Interrogator, and participated in the liberation of a concentration camp. Although he was an American Soldier, less than ten years before, he had been an enthusiastically patriotic German-Jewish boy. 

Rejected and threatened by the Nazi regime, the Angress family fled to Amsterdam to escape persecution and death, and young Angress then found his way to the United States. In “Witness to the Storm,” Angress weaves the spellbinding story of his life, including his escape from Germany, his new life in the United States, and his experiences in World War II. A testament to the power of perseverance and forgiveness, Witness to the Storm is the compelling tale of one man’s struggle to rescue the country that had betrayed him.

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Tags: Airborne Division, Hitler, Tom Angress, Witness to the Storm, Wobbelin concentration camp, WWII

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