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Jochen Hellbeсk to liberals Gozman and Urnov: where are your tens of thousands of executions?

To 70-year anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad which has become the critical during the Great Patriotic War, the German historian Jochen Hellbeck published the book in which collected the memoirs of participants of those events. The researcher was especially interested in the stories of the Soviet veterans - both as winners and as representatives of the state for many years fostering heroism of the soldiers, but not parading all truth, the horror which faced the defenders of Stalingrad.

“On August 23 there was an air attack … The dust dimmed everything around and the German tanks crept out of it … There was only a dust everywhere and not even the water drops …” - Tages Anzeiger gives the quote from Hellbeck's book “Stalingrad protocols” (“Die Stalingrad Protokolle”) - memoirs of one of the soldiers, found the beginning of a six-months siege of the city.

Chaotically, but brightly describe the defenders of Stalingrad the actual end of fight on January 31, 1943. The Red Army men faced an entrance to a cellar where the senior officers of the German staff headed by the commander of the 6th army of Friedrich Paulus disappeared. Lieutenant Leonid Vinokur was the first who saw the author of the plan “Barbarossa”. “He lied on a bed, dressed in an overcoat, a peak-cap was on the head. It seemed, he lost any remains of valour", Der Spiegel gives the quote from the book. The last shelter of the general field marshal, judging by memoirs of eyewitnesses, looked poorly: “Dirt, human excrement and who knows what else … Terrible stench. There were two toilets and the plate hung over everyone: “The entrance is prohibited to the Russians”.

Paulus and other captured officers had opportunity to be shot and by that not to be given in captivity, however hoped to survive to the last. “They had no even the thought to be shot - here are such the pants. They hadn’t the nerve to die”, major general Ivan Burmakov notes.

Only 300 deserters

For writing of “Stalingrad protocols”, Hellbeck used the archives of interrogations and interview of direct participants of fight from both parties - he looked for documents both in German and at the Russian institutes. Subsequently some of them took the historian to nowadays well veterans who 70 years later remembered the endured again. The publication of the book was dated for anniversary of fight and actually coincided with the operation “Uranium” during which on November 19, 1942 the Soviet armies took the offensive near Stalingrad.

The author of the book managed to discredit one of old myths about the Red army: the soldiers went to fight, being afraid of execution for cowardice. The highest measure in Stalingrad was applied, the historian recognizes, but is far not in those quantities about which it is accepted to speak: instead of 13 thousand shot for “desertion” he found documents only about 300 such cases. The Soviet soldiers went to attack not least because of competent ideological work.

On the Stalingrad front in the second half of 1942 the number of members of C.P.S.U. grew almost twice. Political workers held practically competition on a rank of the most courageous: on entrenchments the leaflets about the heroes of the day extended, the corresponding notices sent to parents of fighters. “The soldier sits month in an entrenchment, sees nothing, except the same neighbours and suddenly the commissioner approaches to him. Will tell the kind word, will greet. It was so important”, the commissioner of a battalion Peter Molchanov told.

It seemed, the earth breathed fire”

But hatred to the enemy was the main incentive for the Red Army men, whose atrocities the soldiers and officers managed to see enough by that moment. According to veterans, before war they were respectful to Germans, considered them as representatives of the cultural nation. But that soldiers saw in the ruined villages and the cities, threw them in shock. Nazis ruined everything, it entered into their nature, they didn't hesitate to admit it on interrogations, remember the veterans.


“Skin on a hand was ripped together with nails, provided in the book of reminiscence of major Peter Zayonchkovsky of how he found his dead companion. The eyes were burned out, on a temple there was a wound from red-hot iron. The right side of the face was poured by fuel and burned”.

“Also you see how the bodies of girls, kids hang on trees. The effect from it …”, was remembered by the sniper of the 62nd army of the Stalingrad front, the Hero of the Soviet Union Vasily Zaytsev.


But, according to him, even similar cruelty should force the person to feel conscience torments for murder, even if enemy. “I’m nervous since then. Constantly shakes”, admitted Zaytsev, who shot 242 Germans, whose memoirs were included also into “Stalingrad protocols”. “Five months in Stalingrad were as five years, quote historian Hellbeck of captain Nikolay Aksenov. It seemed the earth breathed fire”.

“There were veterans who cried during interview, mourned over the fighting companions and native. Memoirs were very bright. For example, the retreat for the rivers Oskol and Don in the summer of 1942 they remembered with inextinguishable horror and suffering, their feelings of that time came to life in their eyes, Hellbeck told to radio “Svoboda” in the course of work over the book. From the Russian side we saw also the pride of what they made. As for the Germans, it there were the feelings of spiritual bankruptcy and senselessness of war. And the sense of shame aroused at them”.

Viewed : 2380   Commented: 0

Author: Newsru.com

Publication date : 10 June 2013 01:00

Source: The world and we

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