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World War II started 55 minutes earlier than believed?

Last Updated: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 20:20

London: Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler had lied about the time the World War II started, according to the German gunner who fired first shots, saying the war got underway 55 minutes earlier than the Fuhrer claimed.

Sailor Hermann Gerdau, now 100, was a 26-year-old gunner on Nazi battleship Schleswig-Holstein when it targeted a Polish navy base on September 1, 1939, the `Mirror` reported.

"Hitler told the world the bombardment began at 5.45am, but that was untrue. It began at 4.50am - I know because I was there," Gerdau said.

"We were so close it was impossible to miss. I was bound up in the euphoria of victory," he said.

"We were all seized by the Nazi regime but I was not enthusiastic about the war in general. Soon there was only horror," said Gerdau.

Schleswig-Holstein was turned into a training ship and 800 of its crew members were transferred to battleship Bismarck in 1941.

Gerdau instead went to U-boats - a military submarines operated by Germany - and earned the Iron Cross in 1943. However, Gerdau claims he hated the conflict that resulted in the killing of 60 million people, the report said.

Gerdau was captured as a war prisoner in 1945 and later worked on civilian ships. The centenarian now lives in a care home in Hamburg, Germany.


First Published: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 20:19

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