25. Juni 1941
Three days later we begin our march and cross the San at Radymno. The bridge had been captured by surprise and is completely undamaged. Soon we march past the first shot-up Soviet tank...
The heat is searing. Under a burning sun we are marching 25 to 30 km East every day. But our kit is light, because we’ve only got the essentials with us. Shortly we stop overnight in a barn. I lay on the bare floor, using my bread bag as a pillow for my head. Next to me was Major Haarhaus, but this arrogant (or maybe somewhat inhibited?) Officer did not exchange one word with me.
I see the first Soviet prisoners of war. About a hundred men, mainly Mongols. They sit or lie in the grass, dumb and apathetic. Their flat, expressionless faces give away nothing about what they’re feeling, only their pointed dark eyes look this way and that, watching with foreboding and mistrust. One senses the restrained ferocity of these grim races. Mongols in Galicia. The Asiatic hordes from the steppes are once more standing at the gates of Europe! Now I understand why I am fighting this war: the salvation of European Culture from the Unculture of the Steppes; the salvation of Western Christianity from the godlessness of Bolshevism.
(Translation: Phil Price)
We're approaching Lemberg. Traces of fierce fighting are becoming ever clearer. Before us in the bright sunshine is the road to Lemberg. The scenes are typical of those of all routes of advance: the asphalt surface has been partially ripped up by shells or bombs. Trees have been stripped; they extend their few naked branches sadly into the sky. The masts of the telephone lines lie bent by the roadside, the wires hang down in loose bundles. In the ditch there are shot-up tanks, crashed vehicles and an anti-tank gun crushed by tanks. Every now and then we pass bloated horse carcasses, which quickly decompose in heat of summer and spread a sweetish stench. Here the brash humour of my private, Willi Neuhauß, who drives a beer cart in Berlin, makes the men laugh with his long-drawn-out cry "Kadaaaaaver!"
(Translation: R. Hargreaves)