How Friedberg was saved from destruction

In a small square within the walls of Friedberg Castle there are three text panels, in German only, describing the events of March 1945.

World War II was coming to an end. Friedberg was full of refugees and surrounded by American tanks. Hitler was still alive (he didn’t commit suicide until a month later) and had ordered that all of Germany be defended to the last man. Anyone who tried to surrender was liable to be executed by fanatical Nazis.

So it took a great deal of personal courage on both sides to save the city from destruction. The first attempt on March 28 failed because local Nazis caught wind of it, but on March 29 two American officers drove into the city in a jeep and persuaded the German commander to surrender.

The three text panels are entitled:

  • Auf des Messers Schneide (literally “on the edge of the knife”, which in English would be “hanging by a thread”)
  • Der 29. März 1945 (“the 29th of March 1945”) and
  • Friedberg vor der Zerstörung bewahrt (“Friedberg saved from destruction”).

My photo in this post is from 2011. I revised the text in 2021.

See more posts on Friedberg, Germany.

9 thoughts on “How Friedberg was saved from destruction”

    1. Destruction was mainly by the US Air Force and artillery, which was called in whenever the advancing ground troops met any resistance. The Nazis shot or hung anyone who tried to surrender, as Hitler had ordered.

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