From Afrika Korp to Ambassadors: Baumholder's  Herbert and Ruth Grimm
In Sept 1941, 17 year old Herbert Grimm certainly didn't envision writing six history books and becoming Baumholder's ambassador to the US forces. He had just completed Fallschirmjager, or elite paratrooper, training and was on his way to Ramcke's Brigade in El Alamein and Tobruk. "I didn't sleep in a bed for 1 1/2 years", he laughed, but "we were strong and healthy, the best". Battle wounds in 1942 and 1943 landed the young NCO in a British field hospital before he was handed over to the Americans as a POW and transported to Topeka Kansas.

Multiple surgeries later, this Unteroffizier holding both a 1st and 2nd degree Iron Cross had dropped to 96# and was left with one leg seven cm shorter than the other. What did he think, I asked, when he was taken prisoner? "Thank God it is over for me", he answered. "I woke up in a hospital and spoke to the man next to me in German. When he answered in English I realized where I was."  Herr Grimm returned home in a secret POW exchange in Jan 1945, stopping briefly in Baumholder where he inadvertently annoyed Ruth with constant talk about "America this and America that", she laughed. He worked thirty years as a City Administrator and faithful ambassador between the community and US forces, writing books and researching history in his spare time.

Back in Baumholder, Ruth Grimm waited out the war with an aunt. Her home in Saarbrucken had been bombed out in 1944 "and there was no room for me there".  The whereabouts of her father in the Wehrmacht were unknown until he returned unannounced in November 1945; "that was common then", she said. Ruth and Herbert were married in September 1948, one month before the last piece of shrapnel worked its way out of Herbert's leg!  Almost sixty years later, the Grimms are still spreading goodwill between the German and American community - attending functions, visiting old friends like Colin Powell, and passing on the history they lived.  
Thanks to the Grimms for their invaluable help on Baumholder's history
More photos of Herr Grimm's Fallschirmjager training, Afrika Korp memories, and POW items
Memories of Airborne Training, German style