Found in 2 comments on Hacker News
retrac · 2023-03-08 · Original thread
> I don’t know what the significance of that statement is and I won’t baselessly speculate, but it sure makes me curious.

Zuse wrote an autobiography, and it has been translated into English --

Chapter 5 - Origins of the Z4 - News from the United States - Attempt at a Ph. D. dissertation - Computing machine for logic operations - Final months of the war in Berlin - The evacuation - Z4 completed in Göttingen - Final war days in the Allgäu

Early in the war, he got drafted into the army and got a release for his technical work. By the end of the war, he was working on the Z4 to assist calculations for war work at a lab in Berlin. In early 1945, his labs and work were heavily damaged by bombing, some of the machines destroyed. He packaged up what remained physically and shipped it by rail to a town to the southeast. He resumed work there for a few weeks. He then they fled, as many other groups did at this time, to the very south in German-controlled territory that would become part of the American sector. He does write a bit about that period:

> Dr. Funk obtained the necessary papers for me, my wife and all my assistants to get out of Berlin. Only a few chose to stay. It was painful for me to leave my parents behind in Berlin. They had supported me all those years. I was able to take the most important papers with me. But what was important? With hindsight I would have known better. On this occasion, too, much of value was lost.

> In Gottingen, a relative calm filled the weeks that followed. The Z4 was assembled in the Aerodynamischer Versuchanstalt. We were able to get it running so well that it executed the first program-controlled calculations. While we demonstrated for the gentlemen of the Aerodynamischer Versuchanstalt, including the famous Professors Prandtl and Kuessner -- we could aready hear the thunder of the cannons in Kassel. today we know that we could have been overrun in Gottingen, but at the time no one could have known what would happen. Gottingen could have become a theater of the war, for it was not far from the great underground ordinance factories in the Harz region. Later, Gottingen was occupied by the British. They definitely would have been very interested in the Z4. And we could have been sent to England along with our machine. But this was not to be.

> The Z4 was our first priority. Finally we got the "order" to deliver it to one of the underground ordinance factories. The visit there was for us - we were completely accustomed to the Berlin bombings - deeply shocking. For the first time we stood face to face with the inhuman atrocities of the Third Reich. Twenty thousand concentration camp prisoners worked under unimaginable conditions in kilometre-long tunnels. During the retreat from the East, far too many prisoners were assembled together here, and no provisions had been made to assure that there would be enough food for them. After the visit we told ourselves, "Anywhere, but not here!" We asked them for just one Wehrmacht truck and trailer with which to transport the device.

> Around the same time Wernher von Braun's team was moved from the Harz to Bavaria; and through General Dornberger we were able to get our marching orders for Bavaria, along with a thousand liters of diesel fuel. For fourteen days we fled along the front, past burning neighborhoods and over bombed-out streets. We usually drove at night; during the day we found makeshift shelter with the farmers. [...]

> The night drive through Munich was really eerie: the streets were deserted, the city veiled in darkness, air raids were expected. But nothing happened this night. There was a ghostly silence. We drove straight through and did not stop until we reached the Alps. For the first time in my life, I saw the high mountain region. How peaceful the cloister of Ettal seemed. But we had to push on. In Oberjoch bei Hindelang we finally found temporary quarters, which we shared with Wernher von Braun and his assistants.

chubot · 2019-06-06 · Original thread
Are there any good books about Zuse? He's mentioned in passing in almost every computer history book, like the "The Dream Machine".

Mostly they just say that his work was destroyed, and not much more, which is a shame! And then they devote hundreds of pages to his contemporaries.

I searched Amazon and apparently has an autobiography, which doesn't appear to be widely read:

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