Eduard Rabiega - German Paratrooper
I met Herr Rabiega at the paratrooper reunion. Upon meeting we had a very nice discussion. Apparently we sparked because we sought each other out the next day to have breakfeast. He is truely a kind and gentle soul! I did not get his name or address at the reunion. After asking everyone in vain who he was, I received a nice Christmas card from him with these pictures. He was initially an aircraft mechanic. Then he volunteered for the paratroopers and was sent to Italy in the Anzio-Nettuno area. He was severly wounded in the leg by an American sniper while jumping a ditch. The wound partially crippled him. Despite his grievous wound and being termed unfit for duty, during the closing days of the war, the German military put him back in the line in the heart of Germany. The big bulge in the lower pocket of his jump smock (Knochensack) is his chess game, which he carried everywhere.
On the Italian Front
Note the mules he is using to carry supplies. Oddly enough, my father did the exact same thing. They "liberated" the mules from the Italian farmers, who greatly objected. Vehicles could not gain access to where the men were fighting in the mountains. The mules would carry the burden as far as they could and then the men took over carrying everything to the front over rugged mountains.
This is his Paratrooper jump badge. After completing jump school, they were send directly to Italy. Once there in Italy they were awarded the jump badge. He hid it in his waist belt when being searched by G.I.s while going into the POW cage.
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