|New Book 28th of August 2006:|
"Hell on Earth"
(This page in Norwegian, click)
| Rolf Ivar Jordbruen has written the story of his granduncle Hermod Tuft (1924—1997), who at the age of 17 enlisted as a front soldier like his brothers had done before him. With a strong will and a survival instinct the young boy joined Hitler's Fifth Armour Division Wiking. Hermod Tuft, at this point called Helmut Toff, was a front soldier for four years, among other things as an infantryman in the Caucasus, on the Calmyk steppes and in Cherkassy, in the outskirts of Stalingrad. He was also a first gunner at a field cannon in Poland and Hungary, then in Austria. He was home in Norway twice, once as a convalescent following a serious injury and once on a leave of absence. His foremost distinction was The Iron Cross, First Class.
Tuft the SS-man participated in the entire bloody retreat and defeat, such as the battle at Chercassy, where Hitler's troops during some days in February of 1944 lost ca. 24 000 men. When the defeat was a fact and the troops were disintegrating, it was essentially important for Tuft and the other front soldiers to be captured by the Americans in order not to end up in Russian captivity. Tuft spent a little over a year in American captivity in Germany before returning to Norway in August of 1946, sentenced to two years of penal servitude, but was released after seven months due to illness. He was later married, but he was for the rest of his life marked by his experiences. Tuft felt a need to relate his experiences. He wrote his story by hand, made a voice recording of it and had conversations about it with his grand nephew, who thus had a first hand source.
Hell on Earth is a thriller. The story is uncommonly authentic. You can picture the proud young man in the Waffen SS, ready to go, with great faith in German victory. The reader can likewise picture the exhausted man who, frightened to death and weighing a mere 40 kg, has only one thought: survival. The book describes troop movements over endless steppes, night watch in the Ukraine a January night wearing only a summer uniform, how Tuft is forced to kill in order to survive, how his slightly crazy platoon leader shoots Russian boys who had dug trenches for the Germans, how Russian soldiers hang German prisoners of war in the trees. And it tells about American soldiers who are supposed to ”watch” 1 200 Germans in the May days of –45, when, among others Polish prisoners of war were released from the concentration camps. The reader comes close to the horrors of war.
The book also tells of the friendship between men in the SS. Tuft makes good friends with a German and a Hungarian fellow soldier. Tufts thoughts and attitudes colour the entire story. The author tells an exceptional story which will attract attention, mainly because it is credible.
The book has an postscript written by professor Stein Ugelvik-Larsen as well as a chronological overview of the front movements by Tommy Natedal. Notes are collected at the end of the book. The book is richly illustrated with black and white photos and unique pictures from the Tuft family.
Buy the book direct form "Spartacus Forlag" (Click)