• Herbert Sulzbach leaves Comrie

    'At Comrie Herbert Sulzbach's combination of courage, waspish humour, and sheer goodness broke down many barriers,’ wrote a journalist after Sulzbach's death.

    Thus re-education with the German PoW at Comrie began to work. By the end of 1945 the tone of the camp had begun to change and there was a clear reaction against National Socialism.

    Sulzbach's boss, Major Henry Faulk, recognised that growing up under the ideology of Hitler meant that these young Germans

    'had renounced or failed to acquire a personal spirit of enquiry, a social conscience, and a respect for humanity.'

    Sulzbach himself had noted with surprise that the PoW at Comrie

    'regard such obviously small things that one does for them as “kindness”. It shows how much naturally human, good actions have become something unusual for German people.'

    For their part, the young prisoners were surprised by Sulzbach. Like many other interpreters at PoW camps, he was Jewish and the PoW therefore expected revenge – and had plenty of experience of what that could mean. So it was disconcerting to be faced with such honest humanity.

    By the end of 1945, it was time for Herbert Sulzbach to leave Comrie: the services of a successful interpreter and re-educator were required at a camp for German PoW officers. He was given a commission in the British army, which delighted his wife.

    'It is such a satisfaction to know that real competence, reliability and love of one’s job finds acknowledgement in this world!'

    He left PoW Camp 21 at Comrie on 11 December 1945 and was presented with a letter of thanks signed by over a hundred of the prisoners.

    'You looked after us in the most difficult time, and you gave us new belief through the greatness of your character. From Germany, most severely outraged yourself, you rescued for our new Germany each German man who showed goodwill. You gave us perception, faith and confidence.'

    His reply to those men of goodwill was

    'With young men like you, Germany will certainly recover - and that is what you and we hope for Germany.'

    (photo: Herbert Sulzbach at the end of 1945)

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