Youthful Reflections by George Trofimoff

After Hitler’s National Socialist Workers Party came to power after his election as Chancellor of Germany, the country started to change drastically. The industrial and economic developments quickly became obvious: there were no longer any unemployment lines looking for jobs and there were no lines for food or consumer goods. The people were beginning to be proud of Germany again, and were already anticipating the overthrow of  the restrictions imposed on them during the Versailles Treaty after World War I.

The industrial development became especially obvious when the famous “Bug”, the Volkswagen” car started appearing all over Germany but especially in Berlin. Equally important was the “Volksempfaenger” radio receiver, which allowed every person in Germany to purchase this radio because of its cheap price. It also allowed each person to listen to Hitler’s speeches. The construction of the Autobahn was being lauded in all the newspapers, and the improvement of the railroad transportation system was quite visible. Apartment houses were being built everywhere, and it was obvious that workers did not have to continue living in the hovels which they did before.

Huge rallies of large workers’ groups, Hitler Youth Organizations, and the “SA” Brownshirts took place often in most cities  and attracted large crowds of spectators. Such events as visiting foreign dignitaries were always marked with large gatherings of spectators near government buildings where the events occurred. As a child, George recalled such events as General Franco’s visit during the Spanish Civil War, which was followed by the envoy of the famous “Legion Condor”, composed of a large number of brand-new bombers from the fledgling air force, which was sent to Spain to fight against the Communist forces.

George also reflected on visits of such personalities as the British Foreign Minister Chamberlain, the French Foreign Minister DeLadie, the Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov, and the pomp of the visiting “Il Duce” Benito Mussolini, President of Italy. Mussolini’s visit was highlighted by the rally on the large Lustgarten Square of mostly political organizations and workers groups and the colorful parade of the German Wehrmacht troops. The latter included Infantry on foot or mounted on troop-transport trucks, tractor-drawn and self-propelled artillery, several huge long-barrelled railroad guns, and the famous Tiger Tanks, as well as some brand-new armored personnel carriers and armored reconnaissance cars.

As a young boy, George watched several parades of such magnitude during the years from 1936 to 1939, including one parade each year in honor of Hitler’s birthday. Every parade was always preceded by several of the famous Horch open limousines which were occupied by members of Hitler’s consorts, Herman Goering, Dr. Goebbels, Rudolf Hess, “SS&GESTAPO” Chief Himmler, as well as others. The last vehicle would be Hitler, himself, standing by himself with his arm half-raised in his personal “Heil Hitler” salute.

George attended these parades as all school children in Berlin were required to do so. However, for young boys it was impressive and exciting. Parades were great entertainment.

I write of George Trofomoff’s life in my book:  “Observer: The George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America’s highest ranking military officer convicted of spying”

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