Collecting questions to ask my grandfather (member of the Waffen-SS)

Hello TimeGhostArmy,

while I was building/researching my family pedigree, I talked to my grandfather about our ancestors, where and when they lived and so on. After I had left, it came to my mind, that I actually didn’t talk with him about his own life, just about our ancestors. So I decided to meet with him again for just talking about his life and what he experienced. Currently I am collecting questions I can ask him about his life during the 3rd Reich and the war. And I couldn’t think of anyone to help me better with this then the TimeGhostArmy.

Here are some background information about my grandfather:

  • he was born in 1927 in Lippehne (today Lipiany, Poland)
  • at the end of the war he was 17 years old
  • as far as I know for now (not confirmed to me by my grandfather), he was a member of the Waffen-SS and served as a tank crewman operating the Jagdpanzer 38(t) (“Hetzer”)

Now I am trying to collect some interessting questions I can ask him. Not only about the “typical” stuff like where he was stationed or if he participated in battles etc. I am looking for uncommon questions. Maybe about the daily life, the most hated duties or specific questions about operating the tank and so on.

So feel free to post questions and I will collect them and ask them to my grandfather. Of course I will post the answers.

I hope to do it not too far in the future. My grandfather is 92 years old already and I don’t want to wait to long. I made this mistake with my other grandfather. He passed away about 10 years ago. As he was 10 years older then my other grandfather, he would have had much more information because he was in the Wehrmacht from the beginning in 1939 to the end in 1945. Sadly a missed opportunity.

Thanks for all your questions!




What happened to him or what did he do during the immediate post-war aftermath?


If that is the case, then your grandfather would have been about 6 when the Nazis came to power. Ask him what it was like to grow up & go to school during this time.


Hey Stefan,

cool idea, thanks for sharing!

How did it feel inside the Hetzer (I heard it was pretty cramped in there) - did he consider it a good combat vehicle or did he rather feel bad about entrusting his life to it?

What went through his mind facing literal hordes of enemies and inevitable defeat but still being pressed to fight?

Did he regret anything? My Grandmother was 12 years old when WW2 ended. She once told me that after growing up with all that propaganda she really believed in Hitler. After finding out about the actual braincrushing extend of suffering caused by Nazism she felt somehow ashamed for the rest of her life (although just being a child not knowing better back then). I am curious how a 17 year old can cope with all that :confused:


Did he know any people who were Jews, partially-Jewish, or otherwise classified as non-Aryan and sent to the camps? If so, how did he feel when it happened?

What did he think about the transfer of Silesia to Poland?

When did he realize that the War was lost? When he realized that the War was lost, did he try to surrender to the Americans?

Was he afraid of being prosecuted for War Crimes after the War?


Hey guys,

I’m sorry that it is taking so long. But apparently it’s not so easy to ask my grandfather about the war. So it took a while to start talking to him about it. Last weekend we finally started talking casually about the war. I’ll meet him again in to days and I hope to set up a date for an interview to ask him all the questions I have written down.

Now I have some things I can confirm about him: He …

  • … was part of the Waffen-SS
  • … was in a Einheit z. b. V. (zur besonderen Verwendung/ Unit for special Usage)
  • … was a Ladeschütze (loader) in a Jagdpanzer 38(t)
  • … fought at the Seelower Höhen (Seelow Hights) east of Berlin against the Sowjets
  • … was a POW of the British Forces near Hamburg till about 1947

I hope to get more information soon. I might also interview my grandmother about that time. She was born in 1933 in Kutschkau (today Chociszewo in Poland) and had to flee during the last stages of the war.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!



Maybe something on the available foods like ersatz coffee and what he got to eat after being captured. My Dutch Granddad of 1925 was in the arbeiseinsatz in Erfurt and he was picked up as a POW. He got his best meal ever including eggs floating in fat.

Later he got to talk to an American who was born in Antwerp and was released again.

My grandma (they met in the camp) penned down a lot of the history.