Book Review – William Lubbeck, At Leningrad’s Gates (Philadelphia, PA/USA: Casement, 2006)

This is the chronological memoir of William Lubbeck who served throughout the Second World War as a ranker and officer in the German 58th Infantry Division. He served as a forward observer for the heavy weapons support company (13th Company) of the 154th Infantry Regiment and he went onto command that formation. He saw service in France and then on the Eastern Front was as part of Army Group North and centered on the siege of Leningrad.


Lubbeck grew up in rural Germany near the city of Luneburg not far from Hamburg. His father was a farmer and young William, born in 1920, trained as an electrician and volunteered for service in the army in August 1939, just before the outbreak of War.[1] At the end of the War, Lubbeck surrendered to the British and in the 1950s emigrated to the USA. He wrote his memoir in the early 2000s and it was published in 2006.


German 58th Infantry Division badge

This account is a memoir typical of many written by veterans from the Eastern Front.[2] It covers day to day life, accounts of comrades and camaraderie, patriotic motivation during the war and the importance of relationships at home.[3] It also apportions blame for the German war crimes and atrocities committed during the conflict on Nazi party Goldfasanen (Golden Pheasants). He believed that ‘most of the German soldiers around me felt a deep bitterness at the suffering that…intentionally and unnecessarily inflicted on the Soviet civilian population.’[4] 



[1] William Lubbeck, At Leningrad’s Gates (Philadelphia, PA/USA: Casement, 2006), pp.18-19, 53.

[2] For example, see Gottlob Bidermann, In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier’s Memoir of the Eastern Front (Kansas: University of Kansas, 2000), Armin Scheiderbauer,  Adventures in My Youth – A German Soldier on the Eastern Front, 1941-1945 (Solihull: Helion, 2003) and Hans Schäufler, Panzers on the Vistula (Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2018).

[3]  Lubbeck, pp.59, 90-91, 83, 188-189.

[4] Ibid., p.157.