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Subject Topic: The Death Factory by Tom Sanders Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Posted: 17 March 2006 at 9:19am | IP Logged Quote HemingwayCenter

I've just finished reading Tom Sander's newest chapter of his Gott Mit Uns Belt Buckle odyssey that explores how Hemingway came to own his famous belt buckle, and it is great.  This new chapter explores the Hurtgen Forest, scene of some of the bloodiest fighting near the end of World War II and where Hemingway may have picked up his favorite belt buckle from a German soldier he likely killed.

Here's an excerpt:

While those days in November and December 1944 were only a brief chapter in Hemingway’s life,  they also were among the most intense. No one who went into those woods expected to come out alive.

The Hurtgen Forest is located along the border with Belgium. In 1944 It was part of the Siegfried Line of defence against invasion of the fatherland. The Germans were dug in and well-fortified. The terrain, steep hills and gullies was ideal for defence. Tree-high artillery bursts, spewing thousands of lethal splinters, made movement on the forest floor difficult. Armour had no room to manoeuvre.  It was dead of winter and the worst possible weather conditions; snow, sleet, and rain.  A muddy quagmire slowed jeeps, tanks, trucks and troops trying to make it to the front, and added to the hell that was Hurtgen.

This was an infantryman’s battle, up close and sometimes hand to hand. Bunkers provided protection for German mortars and artillery to rain down deadly accurate fire on the advancing allied troops.

In German, these woods are known as the Hurtgenwald. The Americans called them The Death Factory.


I went to Hurtgenwald to see where this firefight happened in the hope it might lead me to the origin of EH's Gott Mit Uns Nazi belt buckle.  I knew Hemingway took it from the body of a dead soldier.  But when and where?  Did he take it from someone he killed? Was it Hurtgenwald, or months earlier at Rambouillet in France and what were the circumstances?


Well illustrated with photographs and a mulitmedia display which includes audio of Hemingway reading one of his rare poems, this is an engaging look at one of the curious aspects of Hemingway's life.

Read the entire piece here:





Edited by HemingwayCenter on 17 March 2006 at 9:21am

Mark Wilson
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Joined: 01 September 2005
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Posted: 23 June 2006 at 11:08pm | IP Logged Quote GOTT MIT UNS


I want to thank you for posting details about my Gott Mit Uns project on the HRC website, and I am grateful to readers who have responded with constructive and helpful feedback.

I have just finished a considerable re-write, added more information and pictures, and re-structured the website to make it easier to navigate.  It can now be accessed at Http:// which is incidentally a change from the url posted in your message above.  It is still very much a 'work in progress' and i am frequently adding and for those interested, it is worth another look from time to time.

I regret i have not been as active on HRC as I was previously.  Health problems (Parkinsons) have slowed my output somewhat, and my productive time is focused on my writing endeavours.  This website is an ecellent resource for anyone interested in Ernest Hemingway and it is an  honor to be associated with HRC.

I leave tomorrow for the Hemingway Society Conference in Spain and hope to cross paths with some of those who are regular contributors and participants in the HRC forums.


thanks and abrazos

Tom Sanders


Check out my website PARADISE UNLIMITED HTTP://
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