Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family – Part 7

Punishment that Turned out to be a Blessing

In early 1941 Germany, together with her Italian, Hungarian, and Rumanian allies, had invaded and occupied the multiethnic Balkan country of Yugoslavia. During that time, in punitive response to his refusal to join the SS, Papa received a disciplinary transfer to the Bosnian town of Zavidovici as commander of a battalion. Fierce fighting raged between the Axis armies and the various partisan groups. Under the leadership of Josef Tito, some 70,000 resistance fighters were conducting guerilla warfare against the invaders. By contrast, the provinces of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were experiencing a period of relative peace and calm until January 1945.

Yugoslavia before the country split up

Here at the banks of the River Bosna, Papa was in charge of general security around Zavidovici. The town nestled between dense forests reaching high into the mountains was blessed with large tracts of fertile land along the riverbanks. The area provided plenty of food for the local people and the security forces. The soldiers lived in nearby barracks.

Zavidovici and the River Bosna

Local dairies delivered milk, butter, and various fine Balkan cheeses. Farmers sold eggs, meat, corn and wheat, while tobacco plantations ensured a good supply of high-quality cigarettes. Most of these products had become very scarce back home in Germany. So ironically, in the land where the war was being fought mercilessly against Tito’s communist partisans, Papa enjoyed the good life in a relatively safe region loyal to Germany.

16 Replies to “Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family – Part 7”

  1. Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family – Part 7 On Friday, May 14, 2021, The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project wrote:

    > Peter Klopp posted: ” Punishment that Turned out to be a Blessing In early > 1941 Germany, together with her Italian, Hungarian, and Rumanian allies, > had invaded and occupied the multiethnic Balkan country of Yugoslavia. > During that time, in punitive response to his refusal ” >

    Like

  2. everything very complex and difficult to classify.

    Today I was back at the Ehrenfriedenhof in Gemünden.
    16year olds died here in April 1945 as the last resistance. Born in 1928, they could still be alive now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ja, ich kenne einen Bayer. Er wohnt hier ganz allein in unserem Dorf. Jahrgang 1926. Er war deutscher Soldat in Frankreich. Er hatte Glück und geriet 1944 in englische Gefangenschaft.

      Liked by 1 person

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