Hans-Georg Henke - 16 year old German soldier crying after being captured by the Allies, 1945

Faisal Azam

A sixteen-year-old German anti-aircraft soldier from the Hitler Youth, Hans-Georg Henke, was captured in Hessen, Germany, visibly shaken as his world collapsed around him.

In 1938, his father passed away, and with his mother's death in 1944, leaving the family in dire straits, Hans-Georg, at just 15, felt compelled to join the Luftwaffe to provide for his family.

According to Henke's lifelong account, he served in Stettin with an 88mm gun battery, defending against air raids.

As the Soviet forces advanced, pushing the German troops back towards Rostock, Hans-Georg's unit was eventually overrun, and it was during this chaotic time that these poignant photographs were taken.

However, there's an alternative narrative presented by American photojournalist John Florea. He claims to have captured these images in Hessen, specifically in the village of H├╝ttenberg-Rechtenbach, situated just north of Frankfurt am Main.

The geographical context of the photos featuring Hans-Georg unmistakably places them in Hessen. Several images clearly depict recognizable landmarks in the town that persist to this day


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