In this horrific and powerful interview recorded in 1963, Stefan Westmann, a corporal in the German 29th Infantry Division in WWI, defines the act of killing a French soldier with a bayonet.
He is remembering the events of an attack in 1915 by his unit, the Infanterie Regiment Nr. 113, against French positions south of the Canal d’Aire in La Bassée, France.
Westmann was awarded the Iron Cross First Class and survived the war. On his return to Berlin, he continued his civilian medical career but left Germany when Hitler came to power. He moved to Britain, changed his name to Stephen Westman, and ran a thriving Harley Street practice. Shortly before he died, he wrote a memoir, Surgeon with the Kaiser’s Army.