The fighting in and around the houses of Arnhem are very hard to describe, they were even more horrifying then what we had experienced before in Russia.
I was 21 years of age and I was in charge of a unit of stormtroopers of the Waffen SS. In a side street close to the bridge where we were operating, a British Para popped up with his hands up to surrender. I searched him for weapons and as I turned from him for a brief moment, British Machinegun fire hit my prisoner in stead of me.
I took cover behind his body and while others responded to the machine gun fire I discovered that my prisoner had died on the spot. I closed his eyes and have to admit that I could not supress my tears at that time.
I remember a seize fire period when British, German and Dutch doctors and medics were tending the wounded on both sides and gathering the bodies of those who were killed. We all stood there and watched it silently.
When the fighting started again I was hit in my arm and had to withdraw temporarily to an aid post were I was treated and got an injection with morphine.
It is hard to remember it all in detail but what I will never forget is this:
When the battle at the Bridge was over I was standing in front of a damaged building with red bricks near the bridge. Suddenly a large group of British soldiers came marching by. An officer with a stick in his hand called an order and the group turned their faces towards me while the officer saluted me. I saluted him back as appreciation for the honour they presented me. They must have recognized me because we had taken them prisoner some time before.
I was completely surprised and could do no less then admire their spirit. These para's were the elite of the British Army.....