Private Georg Neuber had been a witness to the "special operations" units in Poland in the opening days of the war. Near Naklo his company saw about eighty Jews being murdered. In a village close to Bromberg they found bodies of more than 50 young Poles in a schoolhouse. Not one of them was over 20, and all had been shot in the neck. Soon after that, Georg's company stood by as about a hundred Poles, with priests among them, were shot as hostages on Bromberg's main square. Soldiers from Georg's company just barely escaped being assigned to these mass excecutions, but in the following weeks, Georg was obliged to witness a good deal more. Time and again, Jewish men, women, and even children were hauled away and "liquidated", allegedly for sniping -- and the same fate befell many Polish teachers, professors, estate owners, engineers, and pastors.
"Georgie was terrified that they might make him take part in the executions", Frau Neuber said. "You have to understand that his father was also shot by soldiers -- right here in Munich in 1919 -- and he was compeletely innocent! They thought he belonged to Spartacus!"
Anton Neuber had been killed in the tumultuous days after the Reichswehr and the right-wing Freikorps put an end to the soviet republic that had been proclaimed by workers and intellectuals in Munich a few weeks earlier. Soldiers burst into the tavern where members of Neuber's Catholic Journeymen's club were gathered to discuss a play they planned to perform . . . They Catholic Journeymen protested that they weren't Communists, but to no avail. Only 6 of them, knocked unconscious and seriously wounded, survived to tell what happened.
"I didn't want anything to do with politics after that", Frau Neuber said. "I kept myself and the boy out of the whole business and we always did exactly as we were told. That's why I warned my boy at Christmas in 1939 never to protest, always to obey his superiors, no matter what, and to pray to God he would never be forced to do anything that was wrong."