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Joseph Schacher

20.06.1909 - 20.09.1944

Joseph Schacher entered the war in Alsace in 1944. He did not volunteer but was provided an ultimatum - join the wehrmacht or go to jail in a 're-education camp'. Whilst some of his comrades escaped during transport to Germany, the fear of reprisals on the families threatened by the guards meant that most joined the wehrmacht by traveling to Germany against their will.

In May 1944 Joseph was firstly moved to Aachen before ending up in a Training and Replacement Battalion in Iserlohn, Germany to complete his training. After reports of Allied Paratroopers landings in Holland, all training and replacements units in Germany that were closest to the landing zones were put on alert and tasked to provide 'combat ready' troops who would form Kampfgruppen and move to the front.

In Wuppertal Kampfgruppe 'Bruhn' had formed based on another training and replacement battalion (Ausbildungs und Ersatz-Bataillon 361) and ended up being 8 companies strong. Joseph Schacher was one of these soldiers that ended up in this Kampfgruppe. He was assigned to the 5th company.

Kampfgruppe 'Bruhn' arrived in Arnhem on the 19th September 1944 and was immediately inserted into the blocking line on the northern side of the Amsterdamweg and west of the Dreijenseweg in Oosterbeek. This line was designed to stop the rest of the 1st Airborne Division reaching the Arnhem Bridge. Within hours of being inserted, Kampfgruppe 'Bruhn' was defending the line against attacks from the 10th and 156th British Parachute Battalions. It was during these attacks it is assumed that Joseph Schacher was badly wounded.

He was most likely evacuated to the Truppenverbandplatz located at De Leeren Doedel Hotel for treatment of the serious wounds before being moved to St. Elizabeth Hospital. Unfortunately Joseph died of his wounds on the 20th September 1944.

A modern photo of De Leeren Doedel where the Truppenverbandplatz was located at the Hotel in 1944.

An interesting end to this story is that in 1968-69 a british paratrooper and veteran of Arnhem visited Joseph's wife to return Joseph's ring, a photo and small personal objects that he had from the Battle of Arnhem. Unfortunately Joseph's wife didn't speak english and this gentleman that would have spent the last hours with Joseph left without leaving his name, address or more information on the circumstances of Joseph's death. If you can help the family of Joseph identify this British veteran then please get in contact with me.

This information was kindly provided by a friend of a family member of Grenadier Joseph Schacher.

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