French men and women in the German Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS during the Second World War

by Arthur Koehl

Memoir of Bernard Huffschmitt

Bernard Huffschmitt and his family's story provide a compelling and not uncommon example of the unique experience of Alsace and Lorraine through the 19th and 20th century. Bernard Huffschmitt was born in Strasbourg in 1926, and in 1944, along with the other young men from Alsace and Moselle was illegally conscripted by force into the German Army. The conscription of Alsatians and Mosellans by the Nazi regime was illegal because they were born in France, and the acquisition of Alsace and Moselle by Germany was not recognized as legitimate by the international community. This separates his experience from that of his father, who, like Bernard was forced to fight for the German Empire, against his will. However, by 1914, Alsatians and Mosellans were legally German citizens, and it was within the German government's rights to conscript them during the First World War. Based on Bernard Huffschmitt's memoir, "Le grand tournant: un jeune Alsacien dans la tourmente de la guerre, 1939-1945"1, we have created a timeline of his experiences as a Malgré Nous and present it below in the format of maps, so that we can follow his path. We note that Bernard Huffschmitt was never sent to the Eastern Front, in contract to most of the other Malgré Nous. On the maps below, places that Bernard Huffschmitt went to are marked as blue dot, while his stays in hospitals are marked as red dots.

Continue to the next section: Conclusions


  1. B. Huffschmidt, "Le grand tournant: un jeune Alsacien dans la tourmente de la guerre, 1939-1945", Jérôme Do Bentzinger Editeur, 2004. ISBN 2-84960-009-1. (in French)