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South Germany and Austria – 2007


07SGJosef“Driving thru a picture postcard!”
Sharkhunters 2007 “Southern Patrol”

This was another really fantastic “Southern Patrol” and actually eclipsed the previous “Patrols” to this area by a lot.

Once again we included Redipuglia, Italy – site of one of the first major battles of World War I and it was here that young Leutnant Erwin Rommel earned his Pour le Merit (the Blue Max) for his courage and leadership.

The comments from those who were with us say it all.

Sid Aust wrote:
“I just want to be the first to share my comments about the Southern Patrol 2007. I am still trying to get my breath from the experience and after making so many friends on the trip. I would have never dreamed that I would go to places that I had only read about in books or saw on the history channel…..and sitting here at my computer, it still feels like a dream. If I never go out of the country again, this is one trip I won’t soon forget. The landscapes in Austria, Germany and Italy were breathtaking as was the history. I could say more, but not enough room. Many thanks go to Harry for sharing this experience with us.”
Sid went on to write:
“I had a fantastic time! My favorite memory of the trip was the Eagle’s Nest – what a view! It was also great making new friends from whom I learned a lot and the veteran’s (memorial) ceremony on the mountain for sure!”

Charter Member Bill Reed summed it up perfectly when he said:
“This is like driving through a picture postcard!”

Karl Adolf Wolff wrote:
“I had a really good time and my favorite memory was meeting my fellow patrol members and the vets!”

A member (name withheld) wrote:
“I had a really good time and my best memory was the stadium at Nürnberg, the trial room in Nürnberg, the dinners with the veterans and especially the Eagle’s Nest.”

Dean Powell wrote:
“Just a note to tell you that I enjoyed the trip and the various fascinating sites.”

Duane and Penny Luthe-Charles:
“I know you have many talents and accomplishments but we were not aware of your ESP capabilities. We were sitting over our morning coffee and of course discussing our recent ‘Southern Patrol’ when Duane remarked that he wishes he had been able to record the music from the Veterans’ Ceremonies. I went to the mailbox and lo and behold – there it was!! We had to play it immediately and it is wonderful! Thank you for this beautiful music. It will be played often and loudly – of course.”

NOTE – We sent a CD of this music to all who were on our 2007 ‘Southern Patrol‘.

Colonel Curt Ebitz and his wife Marin Elain both wrote that they had a fantastic time, and both had the same favorite part of the “Patrol” the Colonel wrote:
“There were so many great things it is difficult to select my favorite. However, since the Palace of Justice courtroom where the leaders were tried is off limits to other tourists, the special access afforded by Sharkhunters made this the most vivid memory.”

and Mari-Elain wrote:
“The Nürnberg courtroom!! I could almost feel the presence of all the players. Also, the special room in the City Hall – spectacular!”

NOTE – this special room houses what many believe are the crown, scepter and orb of Charlemagne.

Jimmy Kennedy rode USS BLOWER and he wrote:
“I had a fantastic time and I met some really great people. My favorite was our German guide in Nürnberg – he will make Major.”

Jim Hayward wrote:
“I had a fantastic time and my most vivid memory of this patrol was the beautiful mountain scenery in Austria and the countryside in Bavaria. We must keep the memory of the old veterans alive so they will not be forgotten I am most favorably impressed with the Patrol and the chance to chance to meet and interact with so many interesting people.”

9 September through 22 September 2007
14 Days on “Patrol“!

As always, we’re gonna’ go through this “Patrol” report on a day-by-day basis, just as we lived it. Hang on! You’ll love it.

Here’s what Laura Wolfersperger had to say about this “Patrol“:
“I noticed everyone was telling about their favorite parts and I have two.
First, all the fine people in our group and……………
Second, the wonderful people that we met.
So if ya’ll are reading this, I just want to say you’re the greatest group of people I have met in a long time.”

Angela Smith (left) and Laura Wolfersperger (right)

DAY 1 – Sunday: Our participants arrived on their own at the new Franz Josef Strauss Airport outside of Munich and made their way to our host hotel. Each spent the day getting adjusted to the time difference then we met at 6pm for introductions and an overview of our “Patrol“. After that, we went to the nearby Biergarten for our first group dinner and social time together.

As we see here, München in a beautiful city with a tremendous history.

DAY 2 – Monday: We toured the famous places in Munich – including some that were not on the normal tours. We began in the Viktualenmarkt and naturally, the local bank where we could exchange money. We saw Feldherrenhalle and the buildings of the Reich that are still standing, we saw Hitler’s apartment where his niece Geli was killed. It is reported that she had a torrid affair with Hitler. Did she commit suicide out of grief or was she killed as a possible hindrance? It is the second floor balcony in the photo below right. We saw the house that Hitler bought for Eva Braun in the early days of their courtship.

Naturally, we enjoyed lunch at the famed Hofbraühaus…..with the Bavarian swastika still inlaid in the ceiling. We visited the massive room on the 3rd floor which seats no less than 800. It was in this room where Hitler and the party had their huge group meetings. Our dinner this evening was in the centuries old Löwenbräukeller where Hitler’s followers waited to receive news that the 9 November 1923 Putsch was successful. As history tells us, it was a failure. We enjoyed dinner in our own room and were joined by our friend and Member GEORG HÖGEL, the radioman aboard U-30 when they sank the liner ATHENIA and again on U-110 when they were captured by the Royal Navy. Another new friend, XXXXXXX of the 3rd SS Division also joined us, and we had a superb evening.
3rd SS Veteran PHOTO REMOVED by request.

to see more photos of our time in München

Long time Member MIKE LINGNER was on this “Patrol” and he wrote:
“I had a fantastic time! My most vivid memories were from Nürnberg, Hoffbräuhaus, Salzburg Castle and then Berchdesgaten. I had a fantastic great time thanks to your planning, your knowledge of what worked and didn’t work from previous Patrols and your exceptional handling of a large and varied group of people – what a group! Thank you. I will go again.”

DAY 3 and 4 – Tuesday and Wednesday: Nürnberg! The name itself brings forth images of torchlight parades and massive celebrations. We enjoyed lunch at what is known as “Hitler’s Train Station” because this is the station where he would arrive for is speeches to hundreds of thousands. The station is decorated just as it would have been in the 1930’s, complete with old-style luggage on the wall racks. The food is great too.

Photo left is the magnificent cathedral in the heart of Nürnberg. Photo right is a very special fountain with a ring that has quite a story attached to it.

“I had a fantastic time!”
That is what Jess Bonds wrote about our 2007 “Southern Patrol“. He said that his most vivid memory was;
“Site of Hitler’s Berghof, the zum Türken and of course, the Gold Room in Nürnberg. This fulfilled my every dream. I saw sites I always wanted to see and would never have seen – without Sharkhunters.” Click below to see what Jess saw.

to see more photos of our time in Nürnberg

DAY 5 – Thursday: We drove south towards Austria and as we stopped for lunch, by sheer coincidence the bus parked next to ours carried the “SS Flame” Regiment from Flanders, also on their way to Austria for the Ulrichsberg Memorial Ceremony. The scenery changed from beautiful to fantastic to absolutely unbelievable as our deluxe motorcoach headed south. Now and then, a castle would pop up along the Autobahn and the cameras were clicking all through the bus.

Photo left – fantastically beautiful scenery. Photo right – Schloß Hallegg where we enjoyed a superb dinner one evening.

DAY 6 – Friday: We again were at the Sport Shooting Center for our fun and competition with the Glock 9mm pistol, the K-98 Mauser rifle and various other weapons. Sharkhunters President HARRY COOPER was the Schützenkönig in 2006 and he was so confident that he would win again in 2007, he offered to buy dinner for anyone who outshot him in 2007. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea, because he bought dinner for three people! Member ALLAN SPREEN was the Schützenkönig (Shooting King or Champion) this year with an Austrian friend in second place and Christian Ventelantos in third. HARRY tied for 4th place. In his defense we must say that there were more than double the number of shooters this year than last year, but HARRY says he will make the same challenge for our 2008 “Southern Patrol“. He definitely plans to practice a lot more over the next year!

After the shooting, we went for a tour of the castle Hochhosterwitz and there we had lunch – about a mile above the valley below! The path leading to the castle itself has 16 fortified gates, making it impossible to seize in battle. We did not walk the long and steep path up! We took the easy way – the tram. It was a lot quicker and for sure, a WHOLE lot easier!

In the evening, we were at the castle Schloß Hallegg for dinner. There are two kinds of castles – one is a berg, a fortress. The other is a schloß, a palace. Hallegg has the largest Great Hall of any castle in Austria, and the meal was absolutely fantastic! The Polezeichor (Police Singing Choir) entertained us with their singing.

to see more photos of this part of the “Patrol

The beautiful little town of Krumpendorf – the red circle is our quaint hotel and about 4 blocks away, denoted by the yellow circle, is where we boarded the boat for the cruise on the pristine Worthersee.

DAY 7 – Saturday: After a leisurely breakfast, we walked to the boat landing to board our beautiful cruise boat for the three hour tour of the 18 kilometer long Worthersee. This boat, the THALIA, was built more than 100 years ago. She is the biggest and the oldest cruise boat on the Worthersee, and is beautifully maintained. Some 100 veterans and their wives were aboard and naturally, so was our friend and Member ENRICO COSTA, playing his accordion and singing.

At one point during the cruise, the leaders of the Ulrichsberg Gemeinschaft called Sharkhunters President HARRY COOPER into one of the large rooms and in an stirring ceremony, presented him with the Landes-Ehrenzeichen in Gold from the Salzburg Veterans Association. ENRICO played the National Anthem of the United States of America during the presentation. It was very emotional! The previous year, the same medal was presented to HARRY by the Kärnten Veterans Association. This are very high honors.

Photo left – the medal presented in 2006 from the Kärnten Veteran’s Association (it has three small lions on it).

Photo right – the medal presented in 2007 from the Salzburg Veterans Association (it has one large lion on it).

to see more photos of our time with the veterans on the Worthersee

DAY 8 – Sunday: the Ulrichsberg Memorial Ceremony! This is the pivot point, the main reason we schedule our “Southern Patrol” at this time – this is the pinnacle of the “Patrol“. This is why we are here.

Photo left – Getting ready for the ride up to the mountain. From the left:
Colonel Curt Ebitz, US Army (Ret), combat veteran, twice wounded in battle;
Josef, 3rd SS, combat veteran, wounded four times in battle;
Harry Cooper, US Coast Guard (Aux), former Flotilla Commander;
Senior Master Sergeant “Wolf” Wolfersperger, US Air Force, currently serving.
Photo right – On the mountain, the Memorial Ceremony is beginning.

Brigadier GÜNTER POLAJNAR (Red beret), Brigadekommandant of the 7th Brigade, the “Iron 7th”
Sharkhunters President HARRY COOPER (white cap)
Salzberger Kammeradschaft Representative WALTER GROSSER (Green Hat)

to see more photos of the Ulrichsberg weekend.

DAY 9 – Monday: Our bus rolled on through scenery that just got more and more spectacular with every turn of the wheels, and soon we were in the majestic Italian Alps – photo below left.

Photo above right – among the dignitaries on hand to meet us were these two Italian Navy officers with US Navy destroyer veteran and Sharkhunters Charter Member BILL REED. The Mayor and people of this wonderful little town rolled out the red carpet for our Sharkhunters group.

The evening was spent with beer, food, music and fellowship with the veterans back in Austria.

for more details and more photos of our time in Italy

DAY 10 – Tuesday: About 0930, our deluxe motorcoach rolled north along the autobahn again, through the massive Alps. A nice lunch stop high in the alps at an excellent restaurant and in the afternoon, we arrived at the Hotel zum Türken. This is the quaint, three-centuries-old gasthaus in which Johannes Brahms once stayed as did other famous people – and during the time of the Reich, Adolf Hitler’s personal guard lived in this hotel because it was next door, perhaps 50 meters from Hitler’s home. The hotel and the spectacular view through the Alps is right out of ‘Sound of Music‘!. Our dear friend and Life Member INGRID SCHARFENBERG was on hand to welcome us.

Photo left – this photo of the Hotel zum Türken was shot from the site of the large garage with the multi-story kindergarten built atop the garage. That is gone now, demolished by order of the Bavarian Government.

Photo right – this photo of the beautiful Alps is shot from the balcony of the hotel. The driveway on the left in the photo leads to where Adolf Hitler’s home once stood. It too, is gone – same reason.

What the heck…………is the Gestapo on Kehlstein Mountain? Come on – were white tennis shoes issue for the Gestapo?