The morning of February 18th, 1945 was a day I had been waiting for my entire life: my sixteenth birthday. The moment I woke up, I discarded my Hitler Youth uniform and childish tin medals, and stepped forward to defend the Fatherland side-by-side with German men. I was the last boy in my family to enter Hitler’s war. I felt left behind and restless. My father was an Obersturmführer in the Waffen-SS; my brothers Franz and Götz had been fighting since 1939, and were both in Russia.