Heidi McLeod: 4 young Aussie civilians caught in Germany WW1

Posted on: Mon 30 Nov 2020

Heidi’s grandfather, country lad Walter Wilfred (Wilf) Fritsch  and 3 friends from the South Australian Lutheran community had finished their secondary education at Immanuel College, and were required to go to the USA or Germany to gain qualification as Lutheran Ministers.  Fate saw them choose Germany!  Setting out from Adelaide in March 1914, they arrived in a little town just out of Nuremberg to begin their studies at the Lutheran theological college, and thence became ensnared as civilian Prisoners of War in the horrors of WW1.

Heidi has put together her grandfather’s story from diaries, letters and documents.  It’s an engaging tale of resilience, courage, hope and friendships. We also hear a tale from Wilf’s younger years that perhaps explains Wilf’s ability to overcome hardships and his tenacity to survive later in life during those years in Germany. Heidi’s recounting of her grandfather’s experiences is a tribute to all civilians who endured the non-military story of WW1.

Note:  Immanuel College was founded in 1895 at Point Pass, located north of Eudunda, east of the Clare Valley.  It moved to Adelaide in 1921

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