Charles F. Bruns lived in the East Central Illinois town of Champaign. A local athlete, ‘Chick’ joined the Army in 1941. In October of 1942 he was sent to the European Theater. During his tour he was able to keep is daily thoughts in a journal that is presented here. Additionally, photos, letters written to home, news paper articles, and historic references will be shared.

Chick Bruns

Eagles Nest, Hitlers Tea House

This day, Chick also continued up the mountain to the ‘Eagles Nest’.   The Kehlsteinhaus was a chalet-style structure erected on a sub-peak of the Hoher Göll. It was built as an extension of the Obersalzberg complex erected in the mountains above Berchtesgaden as a retreat for Adolf Hitler, and a place for him to entertain visiting dignitaries.

These photo were taken by Chick at ‘Eagles Nest’

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Color Postcard Photos of Hitler’s Home – The Berghof

Chick was some of the first to visit Hitler’s home near Berchtesgaden. The Berghof was located on a plateau called the Obersalzberg which is on the route to the top of the Kehlstein, the mountain where Hitler’s tea house, called the Eagle’s Nest, was built in 1938.  How Chick found these postcards in the tunnels below the home is described in an interview.

 

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May 5, 1945 – Saturday

A4P81-4-600Was up early and took a few pictures around the town. In the afternoon I got a jeep and Riley and Schlad and I went up to Hitler’s home. The outside was completely demolished. I went down into his tunnel and it could never have been bombed out. They still had electric lights down in it. I got a few hand woven linens for Mom and some Champagne. Went to bed early as we are to move into Salzburg tomorrow.

 

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May 4, 1945 – Friday

A4P78-3-600I had to change a flat this morning. Gas up and change the load on my trailer so I could get at some of the stuff. We are to move out this afternoon. We are headed for Saltzburg, Austria. The prisoners are coming in by divisions now. They are strung out along the road as far as you can see. We changed our plans and headed for Berchtesgaden. We got in about 10 o’clock. I prowled around until about 2 am and then went to bed. Every one was looting every store they could get into.

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May 3, 1945 – Thursday

A4P73-3-600Well, we spent all day and until 11 o’clock on the road. We traveled 85 miles and most of it was on the super highway. Prisoners, prisoners, prisoners that’s all you can see. They are coming in from everywhere. You see them walking down the roads by themselves. One line was so long you could not see the end of it. I so was tired I went right to sleep.

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May 2, 1945 – Wednesday

A4P71-2-600Not much to do this morning as we are going to move after dinner and you can’t unload any thing if you are always moving. After dinner we moved to a new area. We set up the radio and played some cards. They came in and told us that we were going on another task force and was leaving at 2 am. Boy, I’m getting sick of this night driving. So I went right to bed.

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May 1, 1945 – Tuesday

A4P75-4-600I went to Hq to pick up some lumber this morning. We are going to move after dinner. We moved to the other side of Munich and into a nice big house. Here we thought we were going to stay and then we pulled out right after supper for a new area. It was getting dark, and we had to drive black out on this cow path. Boy, it was some ride. We sat on the highway until 1:30 am and then they found a bivouac for us. So I got to bed about 2:30 am.

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April 30, 1945 – Monday

A4P73-4-600We moved in to the suburbs of Munich this morning. I had to go to HQ to pick up some lumber. It snowed most of the day today. We set up the radio and played cards. I wrote a letter home. We went to bed.

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Letter Home – April 29, 1945

19450429a-Lscan-600Dear Mother & Dad;

Well mother here it is your birthday. Mine passed and was just another day. In fact it was a pretty hectic day for me. We moved to three different times. If you could see the equipment we haul you could well understand.

We’re still moving against light opposition. Boy you should see the prisoners. It is just like Sicily. They are surrendering now a by the Battalions so maybe it will end in another month. Hope so anyway. I know you want me home but I’m afraid if I get home too soon I’ll wind up in the south Pacific. So if I get home by next Christmas, I should be home for good. I’m having a hard 19450429b-Lscan-600time finding time to write to you. I still owe a lot of letters so tell everyone hello for me. Oh Yes, you should see it snow here now. Wow! She’s plenty cold and the snow is flying. But in the day time when the sun is out it gets nice and warm. Sorry this is all I have time for now, but I’ll write again soon. By By & I’ll be thinking of you all the time

All My Love
Your Son,
“Chick”

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Dachaw Concentration Camp (audio)

During this day, April 29, 1945, Chick Bruns visited Dachaw Concentration Camp. Only officers were allowed cameras so Chick gave his camera to the officer accompanying him.  This audio clip was from an interview with his son John.

 

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