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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bruno Manz Lived Here

One of the great moments during this summer´s Narvik trip was to see the house which during WWII was the first German military HQ in front of the Swedish border town (village) of Riksgränsen. During the closing months of WWII one very special German soldier lived in this house: Bruno Manz.

It is in my opinion one of the most important and moving books to emerge from WWII: A Mind in Prison by Bruno Manz.

The house in Norway (Björnfjell, Narvik region) where Bruno Manz lived during the final days of WWII. I am holding a copy of Bruno´s memoirs. PHOTO: Mikael Norman

Mr. Manz has recorded not only his wartime tour of Finland and Norway in the German air force and army (he was transferred from the air force) and what it was like travelling through Sweden as a German soldier. His book is also a strong father-son story and a thought-provoking description of how propaganda works. One of the most memorable passages of the book is about his emotions in April-May 1945. This part of the book takes place mostly in Björnfjell, where he stayed in the above house.

A Mind in Prison made such a strong impression in me that I strongly recommended it be translated. The result was a Swedish version, Fångad av hakkorset.


  1. I'm still reading the book and love it. His story is not as harrowing as Guy Sajer's in "The Forgotten Soldier", but I like his perspective. With six years in the German military he must have had many stories to tell. Instead he took a more global perspective of his life. Many authors of the period tell us just about their wartime experiences but Bruno tells the whole story from mental enslavement to spiritual freedom. I also like his view of America. Not that we are perfect but that we are special and we should be thankful for what we have. Bruno's book should be required reading for every high school student. Jim S., Charleston, South Carolina

  2. Very, very good book. Reading it for the third time at the moment.

    However, i wonder if Bruno is still alive? Would be interesting to know.

  3. Hi,

    I have just requested Mr. Manz to reply here.



  4. Thank you! I planed on writing an essey regarding this subject in school. It would be very interesting to Mr. Manz. If you want to I can give you my mail and we'll keep contact there!

  5. Hi,
    I loved Mr. Manz's book, A Mind in Prison. It is one of several WWII memoirs by German soldiers which I've read. My favorite is The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer. I also recommend Soldat, Reflections of a German Soldier 1936 - 1949 by Siegfried Knappe.
    I wrote a blog post about these books on my blog, "World War II...with a German accent." You can go here: http://lisbetheng.blogspot.com/2009/05/what-did-they-know.html
    I've also written a WWII novel entitled In the Arms of the Enemy. Please check out my website at www.lisbetheng.com. My email address is on the contact page. I'd love to hear from you.
    You have a great blog!
    Best regards,
    Lisbeth Eng

  6. Hi,

    I was also very impressed by Mr. Manz's book and I hate to see it so rarely quoted by scholars, since I consider it such a valuable testimony. So thank's to contribute to let people know him better through your blog!

    I am a Spanish writer on Nazism and I started recently my own blog in English. My last post was devoted to his "A mind in prison". You will find it here: http://rosasalarose.com/?p=108

    Best regards,

    Rosa Sala Rose

  7. Dr. Manz passed away last December.