Last stop: Brake, Germany—then and now

Posted: May 10, 2019 in 1945, Germany

The 111th’s summer-long stay in Brake, near Bremen, from late May until the fall, must have seemed like an eternity for the men, as they waited their turn to go home according to the point system, based on time in service and other factors. Their work was pretty much over with, and at least two of the men took the time to write their memoirs of the war, which are elsewhere on this blog.

Brake was, and still is, a port on the Weser River, south of Bremerhaven. The unit took over six apartment buildings. Today we drove into Brake, a much larger town than we expected. We decided to have lunch before driving up and down streets looking for those apartment buildings.

It was a good thing we did. We showed the waitress our photos. She wasn’t sure and sent over one of the other guests. That woman also wasn’t sure and said she’d send over her husband. He recognized them–but spoke no English. His daughter was there, so he called her over and she told us the street name (Brommystrasse) and where it was, near the port several blocks north of us. We drove over, and there they were, still being used:

Lt. Kent wrote that down the street from the apartments, “We took over a bar room, using the bar on the ground floor for recreation and the second floor for company headquarters. Across the street from the bar was an Olympic-size swimming pool, which I promptly appropriated and had filled with the aid of conscripted German help.”

Kent continued, “I also hired some German carpenters to convert the swimming pool bath house to a mess hall, confiscated enough china and silverware from a nearby kasserna (armory) to accommodate the company, and hired some women to assist the cooks.”


This is the building in the man’s photo marked “Our Room.” Not evident in either photo, but which we could see, were cranes at the port in the distance.

This is a picture of our apartment taken while the Germans were in full swing. I found it in the room here Campbell.

DeLaGarza, Sedlacek, Raisler

Leo De La Garza, Joe Sedlacek, and John Raisler, in front of their “home” in Brake, Germany, summer 1945  

Roland Unangst on right

Roland Unangst on right in Brake

Red Cross Club, Brake, Germany Campbell

The American Red Cross club in Brake, Germany—the building is no longer there

Swimming at pool in Brake, GE. Occupation time after V-E Day

Swimming at the pool in Brake

  1. Tom Sedlacek says:

    Another great article!! Happy Mother’s Day to all !!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Linda Jackson says:

    I found pictures of my father during ww11 (when i googled his name.)l.traced it back to the book Only the Best.l ordered the book and am so excited to read and look at all the pictures.he is pictured several times.his name is Louie Soutier.he is pictured milking a cow .on page 45 with Joe Sedlacek.also picture with John Raisler pumping water while he takes a 50.What a great job putting this book together!!!!

    • Andrea says:

      Linda, I’m so happy you found us! It’s been a while since we’ve found a son or daughter of one of the men. Your dad was certainly in some memorable photos! If you have any of his photos from the war or anything at all he might have kept and would like to share, we would love to have them.

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