History 15/01/20 Stalingrad cauldron: what I wrote in the diaries of German soldiers
Yes, the Germans are the worst enemies. They had not been asked, but they came and committed countless crimes. But the letters of those who were pawns in the mad game of Hitler and ended up in Stalingrad, make the blood freeze in my veins. Despair, frustration and horror of war, the awareness of the adventurous plans of the Wehrmacht in Russia – that he was worried that the German soldiers on the verge of death.
In November-December 1942 were the most cruel battle, then the Germans threw and surrounded. As of January 10, 1943, the Red army began the destruction of the encircled at Stalingrad the Nazis (more than 218 thousand people).
the position of the Germans steadily deteriorated and become catastrophic. Here are some excerpts from a diary of non-commissioned officer I. Sharfstein:
“on 2 November. Night huge aircraft operations. Can’t stop thinking about the idea that your end is near. Our attack is unsuccessful. The company commander petty officer Lar killed.
on 3 November. Sergeant Frederick is killed.
8 Nov. Again and again the air raids. No one knows if he is alive in an hour.
on 9 December. All the weak horses kill and eat.
on 10 December. Fasting is hard as hell.
11 Dec. No hope for improvement. Now we know the price of bread.
12 Dec. Today I found an old piece of moldy bread. It was a real treat. We eat only once, when we distribute food, and then 24 hour fast…”
in November, the bleak future was clear to the participants of the battle. Russian was much stronger than they expected. Sergeant Yu Fernet wrote his friend on 16 November 1942: “now we Have it really bad; if you saw us, you would not half learned, and then you would ask: but where is he, where is this? Yes, some are in the Russian land, others are treated at home or in the hospital, some have lost legs and so on. Bad to us! Here Pogueibet a lot of people, as Russian is fighting extremely hard.”
Two days later, corporal V. Opperman wrote to his brother: “Stalingrad is hell on earth, Verdun, red Verdun, with new weapons. We attack daily. If we are able to take in the morning 20 meters in the evening the Russians throw us back.”
Along with the bloody battles came and understanding of the futility and filth of war. Corporal K. Muller wrote to the family on November 18, a few days before the encirclement: “I will Tell you only one thing: what in Germany is called heroism, is only the greatest carnage, and I can say that in Stalingrad, I saw more dead German soldiers than the Russian. […] Let no one in the country is not proud of the fact that their loved ones, husbands, sons or brothers fighting in Russia in the infantry. We are ashamed of our lives.”
a few days before the Germans were already the task of survival, not victory. Surrounded by the Germans soon if horses, dogs, cats, rats. One of them, soldier Otto Sichtig 100th infantry division wrote the bride on December 29, 1942: “…Yesterday we got vodka. At this time we just cut the dog, and the vodka was very handy. Hetty, I am in total stabbed to death four dogs, and companions can’t eat your fill. I once shot a magpie and cooked it…”
Another soldier, Werner Glue wrote on December 26 “Today because of the feast cooked the cat.” His colleague Reffert three days later wrote to his wife: “…Elsa, I don’t want to bring you sadness and I won’t have much to say, but one thing I can tell you: soon I will die from hunger…”
For many by the end of December is not even enough and horse meat. The unknown soldier 631 artillery regiment was lucky. On 31 December he wrote: “Tonight we again cooked horse meat. We eat it without any seasonings, even salt and okolevshemu horse lay under the snow, maybe 4 weeks. As you can understand, we have no tidbits…”
Feeling that this is the end, many saying goodbye to their families and not embellishing, informed them that the coming finale. Corporal R. Yang wrote the bride on 27 December: “we will fight until the last man will die. That we have called “heroic death”. […] Dead — daily sight; to experience the compassion we have forgotten, love is no longer required, leaving only animal instincts, guzzle and we all live like pigs. […] Two more weeks, and we’re all dead. […] Despite the unfortunate situation in which we find ourselves, people steal from each other. There is no meaning to write you more about it; you’re still not able to imagine what it’s like in reality. I died.”
© Russian Seven
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