All eyes were glued to this white banner. From all the windows people were staring. The bearers of the flag of truce continued walking in the middle of the road in complete silence. All realised that the last deciding moment had come. They turned the corner. After long moments of waiting, we heard the droning between the town walls. The houses were shaking, the streets full of screeching, jarring noises. With a loud noise, the first tank rumbled into the market place. Our French war prisoners were sitting on its long barrel. One of them was holding the banner of free France whilst others were waving their hats, railing their victorious France. Behind the tank came an armoured military car on top of which were lying soldiers, pointing their machine guns, ready for instant action. All wore metal helmets - only their teeth and the whites of their eyes where white. They were black. Along the footpath ran French soldiers looking around attentively, holding guns in their hands. From the armoured car came a French officer. In seconds he was surrounded. He opened out a large map and our Frenchmen were giving him instructions. Slowly the Germans also came out into the streets looking with interest at the passing tanks. A few greeted the French but the majority, full of reserve and curiosity, were silently watching the enemy army.

In a very short time the town was occupied. The tanks were stationed at crossroads and near the gates. The soldiers went through streets, yards and some houses. Occasionally we heard some single shots.

'Our' Frenchmen rolled a full wine barrel from somewhere and were drinking and urging their mates and other foreigners to join in. They felt they were hosts to the town. Some of the ex-prisoners even had arms. When the French banner started to wave from the tower of the Town Hall there was no end of cheering. We were drinking wine offered from buckets and barrels amidst cheering and toasting to the French army and the United Nations. In the meantime the French patrols, informed by our Frenchmen who knew the set-up of the town, flushed from their different hiding places the German soldiers and the more prominent citizens who were known as cruel oppressors.

We only realised that the war was truly finished for us when we saw the first group of German prisoners, guarded by the French, where the soldiers in the uniforms of the Wehrmacht marched along the street with their hands raised. Then we saw the VIPs led by the Mayor and our Heim walking with bent heads and being hurried on by the 'Blacks'. Only then did we realise that Germany had fallen. Defeated in their own country, in the streets of their own town. What an ironic fate had befallen them. What a joke! They who were so proud of their master race, they who intended to be the future Aryan Masters of Europe walked now with their heads bent, driven also like cattle, pushed and hurried on by the dark-skinned, flat-nosed Senegalese who maybe were only half tame in Africa but were imported to Europe to give help and conquer this master race. These men from Africa walked now smiling and proud. They were pushing ahead the whites, the whitest of the white masters. They who were once slaves were now ordering about a white nation in their own land. In the dark faces the eyes were shining, white teeth between broad lips, the white turbans accentuating even more the dark bluish skin. I looked on thinking what a fantastic and ironic situation.

The people of Isny had barely time to calm down when the old, lame Hans, the doorkeeper of the Town Hall, came into the middle of the street and, according to old Allgau custom, began ringing a bell, calling to attention the people in the square. In his loud and penetrating voice old Hans started calling out:

"All people of Isny have to immediately bring to the Town Mall all their radios, cameras and all arms in their possession. This order is signed by the War Commandant of Isny, Captain of the French Army, Commander of the II Group of the 62nd Regiment of African artillery."

This was the first order issued by the victors.

Soon the place around the Town Hall was swarming with people. People were coming from everywhere with their radios, heaping them in the halls of the Town Hall. Six years before the Germans were taking our radios away from us in our lands. Now THEY were paying their first tribute.

With difficulty, I pushed my way through the crowds, going to Marushka to share the good news with her. At last we had become free people, members of the United Nations and victors.

Next morning we returned to Isny. The streets were quite empty. The neighbours told us that the army had ordered the inhabitants to leave their houses for the next 48 hours. During this time houses were searched and some people arrested. The Russian prisoners used this time to completely loot the factory and the villa of the big bass. Heim, while in prison, committed suicide, shooting himself through the mouth with his own revolver. His main henchman, Party Member Altenbach, the man most hated by all the workers, valued his own life more. He paid for his love of life in a painful and degrading way. Some of our labourers who felt a lust for revenge found him and delivered him into the hands of the 'Blacks' who, having an odd kind of humour, arranged a mock trial. Altenbach was tied to a chair with two soldiers guarding him. Every passer-by was asked if he knew him and, if so, to treat him accordingly. The crowd consisted mainly of factory labourers so he was beaten and his face spat upon until his bleeding head was bent. Only then did some spark of compassion spread through the people and they began to disperse. They had had their revenge. Altenbach was arrested and we heard nothing more about him. He was forgotten like one forgets the bad times.

On the first of May, the day of the national-socialistic festival, the German radio announced the death of Adolf Hitler. He who was worshipped by many and hated by many had removed himself from the living but his body was not found. Three different versions were circulating amongst the people like budding legends. If history is unable to produce facts, these legends will blossom on the 'tomb'. The fantasy of the descendants will create either a devil or a saint. One fact remains - he perished together with his creation. The Third Reich of the future one thousand years ceased being after only ten years. The final blow aimed at the heart occurred the next morning at 15 hours - Berlin had fallen. Above the ruins of the would-be capital city of the world waved the flag of the United Nations. The last fortresses fell: Hamburg, Lubeck, Rostock. The millions-strong army surrendered. The fighting stopped in the south - in Holland, Denmark and Norway.

The machine of the Reichswehr stopped!

On the night of the 7th of May to the 8th of May a few gentlemen in grey uniforms arrived at the headquarters of the Allied forces in Reims. Field Marshal Jodel, in the name of the Reichswehr, at 2.41 p.m. signed the unconditional surrender of all armed forces on land, sea and air. Next day all European countries announced the end of the war as from the historical date of 9th May, 1945, at zero, zero hours and one minute.

In Isny the church bells were ordered to ring but most people could not understand why the bells were now ringing. For the last ten days the 'Blacks' had been in full control of the township. They liked three things: gold watches, white women and fattened geese.

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