Guy Sajer

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Guy Mouminoux was born in Paris and was living in Alsace when he was drafted into the German Wehrmacht at age 16. He is better known by his German mother’s maiden name of Sajer as the author of Le soldat oublié, or The Forgotten Soldier. James LaFond shares his thoughts on Sajer’s memoir:

With the postmodern view of WWII as Star Wars, with the Nazi military machine as the Evil Empire: larger, more advanced, and totally mechanized compared to its Ewok-like victims, a reading of Russian Front memoirs by German combatants gives a shockingly opposite picture, with Krauts getting around on horses and slogging forever on foot, facing vast herds of rolling Russian steel monsters. Guy spends all of page 63 discussing the use of horses in the Russian snow. Horses are working and dying throughout the entire mechanical conflict. The soldiers have a tiny, myopic existence, crawling on the verge of a terrible end.

Guy was a regular soldier, had flunked out of the Luftwaffe and attained no great distinction as a ground combatant, but survived, managing to return to his mother in time to carry her home, where his picture still rested above votive flowers.

Images of horses — loyal, striving, dying, hung in trees to be butchered to feed the doomed men — haunt the story.

“I can still see the three plucky ponies jumping through the snow like rabbits.”

(Hat tip to our Slovenian guest.)


  1. Slumlord says:

    Really, really good book explaining the horrors of war. I read it a while ago. The bit that really struck me was when his “friends” thought he wasn’t “German” even though he was fighting with them in the SS. Blood runs thick I suppose.

  2. Lula Singletary says:

    As I write, July 26, 2021, my brother, Keith Stolzle, PhD Physical Chemistry 94, on June 9, just asked me to look up “Guy Sajer” on my “Genius.” Since reading The Forgotten Soldier he has taken pleasure for years in recounting stories within the book. I am delighted to know that Guy Sajer is living and I hope in as good health as my brother. Wish Guy Sajer well for both of us. Thank you! If possible send me a current report of Guy to share with one of his his best fans, Dr. Stolzle <>.

  3. Isegoria says:

    I was not expecting to find that Guy Sajer was still alive. I also had no idea he’d been a cartoonist before writing his memoir — which is on sale, at the moment, as an audiobook (for Audible members).

  4. Altitude Zero says:

    Great to know that he’s still hanging in there. The role of horses in World War II is often overlooked. Does anyone know of a good book out there on this topic?

  5. Isegoria says:

    I’ve discussed horses and history before, but I don’t have a go-to book recommendation for horses in World War 2.

  6. Altitude Zero says:

    If this doesn’t exist, someone is missing a great opportunity. Lots of horse fanatics out there, with lots of money

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