16 April 2013

15 Year Old German Soldier Cries After Being Captured by the US

Image size: 1600 x 1590 pixel. 847 KB
Date: Tuesday, 3 April 1945
Place: Rechtenbach, Hesse, Germany
Photographer: John Florea

A fifteen year old German soldier, Hans-Georg Henke, cries after being captured by the US 9th Army in Rechtenbach, Germany, on April 3, 1945. He was a member of the Luftwaffe anti-air squad (Flakhelfer) who burst into tears as his world crumbled around him. His father died 1938 and his mother in 1944. He joined the Luftwaffe to support himself. When the war was coming to an end he walked 60 miles to try and reach American lines only to be captured by the Russians. Luckily, he and his two brothers all survived the war. He went on to live a full life and died in Finsterwalde, Germany, on 6 October 1997. Late February 1945 and 9th Army launched Operation Grenade, which was the southern prong of a pincer attack coordinated with Canadian First Army's Operation Veritable, with the purpose of closing the front up to the Rhine. By 10 March, the Rhine had been reached in all sectors of 9th Army's front. It was not until after 20 March that 9th Army units first crossed the Rhine itself. However, after doing so, the Army quickly struck east around the north of the Ruhr. An enormous pocket soon formed containing the German Heeresgruppe B under Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model. By 4 April, 9th Army had reached the Weser and was switched back to 12th Army Group.



  1. Aww, there, there. Now please, be a GOOD boy.

  2. Was he captured by Russians or Americans?!?!

  3. if he was captured by russians, he had ALL REASONS of the world to cry... :(

  4. Wait wait wait. I'm really confused. At first it says "Captured by US troops" then it says he was captured by the Russians. So which side was it? And after that the article gets to be confusing talking about movements of armies.

  5. At the end of the war Hitler was pressing kids into service: Sticking guns in their hands and sending them out in the front lines. Most of them were frightened and confused. How could you not have sympathy even though they were on the other side? And many Allied soldiers did feel for these poor kids.

  6. This is a very good picture capturing the essence of the final year when the German Army employed the use of children to fight the war to avoid losing. It didn't work very well for obvious reasons. These kids must have been so traumatized by their plight. The innocence of war well captured here. The ones who always suffer the most are women and children in these wars. They often have the worst experiences to share if they live to tell their tales. Many of these child soldiers were taken in and comforted by the Allies who were horrified to see that kids were being used to fight in these battles.

  7. Those were indeed dark days, poor kid.

  8. É uma foto triste. Entretanto, a crueldade da Alemanha na Segunda Guerra foi tão inacreditável que eu sempre tenho uma impressão de que eles possuem uma dívida impagável com o resto da Europa.