29. Dezember 1941

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Editorial 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 Epilog Anhang

Table Of Contents

January February March April May June July August September October November December Eine Art Bilanz Gedankensplitter und Betrachtungen Personen Orte Abkürzungen Stichwort-Index Organigramme Literatur Galerie:Fotos,Karten,Dokumente

Chronik

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Erfahrungen i.d.Gefangenschaft Bemerkungen z.russ.Mentalität Träume i.d.Gefangenschaft

Personen-Index Namen,Anschriften Personal I.R.477 1940–44 Übersichtskarte (Orte,Wege) Orts-Index Vormarsch-Weg Codenamen der Operationen im Sommer 1942 Mil.Rangordnung 257.Inf.Div. MG-Komp.eines Inf.Batl. Kgf.-Lagerorganisation Kriegstagebücher Allgemeines Zu einzelnen Zeitabschnitten Linkliste Rotkreuzkarte Originalmanuskript Briefe von Kompanie-Angehörigen

Deutsch
GEO & MIL INFO
Nikolajewka Karte — map
OKW situation map Jan 1942 Karte — map
with neighbouring division (295. I.D.), which was under Gr. von Schwedler; on 1 Mar 42 I.R. 518 was positioned there (KTB 257. I.D., NARA T-315 Roll 1805 Frame 000984), acc. to Kirstein p. 564 f. the 2nd bn
257. I.D.:
between 3 and 6 Jan 42: deputy div cdr Oberst Taeglichsbeck[1]
17.1.42: GenLt Sachs zurück[2]
XXXXIV. A.K.: 17.1.42: deputy: GenLt StapfWP 15.1.42: von Reichenau stroke
17.1.42: OB: GFM von BockWP

The next morning I leave the village with two messengers to cross over to Nikolayevka. I cross the small wooden bridge over the Torez, which flows around Raigorodok on the front side, and after a few hundred metres I reach the “road” leading to Nikolayevka. In front of us is the vast, table-flat and deeply snow-covered plain. The road is hardly recognisable, but we only need to follow the telegraph poles that run in an endless row alongside the path and lead directly to Nikolayevka. In the distance we can make out the houses of the village. They are still tiny, but clearly visible in the crystal clear winter air. According to the map, it is about six kilometres to there. Eastwards at the end of the plain is the dark forest where the Russian positions are. From there, Soviet posts and scouts are now certain to follow us with eyes and binoculars. But the danger is not great. The distance is too far for a rifle shot, and we are not a worthwhile target for heavy weapons.

Nikolajewka

In Nikolayevka I report to the battalion staff. My two messengers set off on their return journey and I go to my quarters, which have already been provided for me. It is close to the battalion headquarters in a long row of houses that forms the edge of the village. Behind the house gardens stretch the wide, snow-covered expanses that rise very gradually and reach the upper edge of the high valley slope about two kilometres away. The front runs up there. Almost imperceptibly flat elevations hint at our bunker positions there, and often in the evening I see the glowing red fire fountains of the bursting shells dancing around these positions.

My quarters are the last house occupied by soldiers in this street. Only civilians live in the following houses. One of these quarters was occupied until recently by three artillerymen who had an observation post here. The house was destroyed by a direct hit and the three artillerymen were killed. When I went to the spot yesterday - it is only fifty metres from my quarters - the three comrades were still lying there as they had fallen.

I live alone with a Russian family. I get my hot lunch in the mess kit from the field kitchen, which is in one of the neighbouring houses. I have to hurry on the way back, because in the crisp cold, the food that came out of the goulash cannon burning hot will have cooled off on the fifty-metre walk if I don’t run home on the double.

I often spend the morning studying a political map, taking satisfaction in the growth of the Greater German Reich. One day I am sitting over the map again when a disgusting smell spreads through the living room. I get up and take a look through the glass pane of the door into the kitchen. There I see the farmer’s wife holding her baby just above the ground for it to do its bathroom deeds. Then she takes a straw mop and smears the whole business on the clay floor of the kitchen.

Another time I saw a woman holding her child out over the wash bowl. When I expressed my displeasure and reminded her that she also washes herself in this bowl, she replied, half astonished and half uncomprehending: “It doesn’t matter, the bowl will be washed out again!” Such and similar experiences happen often. But there is no need to be arrogant about it. I have experienced similar things in our rural provinces in Germany. But as in all areas of thinking and life, the Germans and Russians also have very different concepts of hygiene. The Russians call us uncultured because we have our toilets in the flat. A toilet in the flat - what a mess! The Russian facilities are often outside and far away from the house. The Russians forget only two things: 1. You can eat in German toilets; the Russian ones can only be reached via mountains of excrement that have no more room in the toilet. 2. You cannot move the Russian toilets into the house without catching the plague. When the Russian thinks of toilets, he thinks of his, and that is why the thought of a toilet in the house is so inconceivable to him. This is the only way to understand why a Russian officer had the toilet bowl in his German quarters torn out and replaced by a peat box.

I have seen “toilets” in Russian tenements and in directors’ houses[3] and they were all equally unusable. No doubt there are many clean loos in Russia too. But when a tourist tells me 16 years after the war that even in the seaside resorts of Crimea the toilets don't look any better, I’m not really surprised. The habits of a people don’t change that quickly.

The Russian sense of shame poses similar puzzles. It is obviously on a completely different level than ours, or it occurs in completely different moral relations.When they see the magazine pictures hung up by the compatriots with half-naked girls, or when we walk through the village in shorts on scorching hot summer days, they say “nix kultura!”. But the Soviet soldiery is not ashamed to ravish German women in thousands of sexual excesses, with whole groups raping a single woman in each case. Or the Russian peasant who shoves his German quartering into the next room with his daughter and locks the door laughing. I admit that these connections are not yet clear to me and my judgement may be somewhat skewed.[4] In any case, the mass defilement of German women is unprecedented in European war history. Measured by our European moral code, this behaviour is beastly. But the Russian thinks, feels and acts differently. In any case, the group use of one and the same woman seems to be nothing unusual for the Russians, for they even have a word for it: chubarovshchina[5]. What are the reasons for this? Is it the collective consciousness that is strongly pronounced in Russian nature and unknown to us individualistic Europeans? Is it subliminal relics from Mongol times, lack of chivalry and respect for the dignity of women? Was it just the thrill of victory of an unleashed soldiery? Or the instincts whipped up by the hateful publications of the Jewish-Russian author Ilya Ehrenburg? Or all of them together? In any case, the abysmal difference in nature between our peoples is also evident here.

Russian artillery is laying down harassing fire on the village. At long intervals, single shells explode. The sound and pressure seem to propagate through the snow cover, because with each explosion there is a strange bright sound in the snow cover that propagates through the whole village. When the shelling starts, I am reading the newspaper. I don’t want to be disturbed. After all, this dribble cannot shake an old warrior. I want to read on, but find myself repeatedly waiting for the next impact. So I put the paper down. But a little weaned, old boy! Resting too long? Given the vastness of the village, the individual impacts do not cause much damage. At least one shell hit the regimental command post. But no one is injured.

They have just brought a Red Army soldier to the battalion. He was supposed to fetch a Russian gun from the position with a heavy tractor. In the darkness he accidentally drove beyond his positions and was immediately captured on the German side along with his tractor. But he does not seem to be shaken at all. He gives an almost self-satisfied impression.

I had gone to bed. It is dark, but I am still lying awake. There I hear the parlour door open quietly. I see the shadow of the 15-year-old daughter. She comes in and goes to the other bed, which is on the opposite side of the room. I can tell from the shadow's movements and the sounds in the semi-darkness that she is undressing and then going to bed. Quite sensible. Why should this comfortable bed stand empty?

I am moving. I felt very comfortable in my previous quarters. I hardly came into contact with the Russians. They lived in the kitchen, while I had the living room to myself. But since I had been needed more often lately and did not always want to trudge through the deep snow to the battalion, I moved into the communications section leader's quarters. It was a sergeant who lived in the house next to the battalion command post with his messenger. So there are three of us here, but the comrades are very friendly guys and I'm quite happy with the change. In the morning we sleep as long as we feel like it. After getting up, the delousing begins immediately. We then sit on the edge of the bed and search the shirt and pants for lice, which are cracked between both thumbnails.[6] In this we are routinised specialists. This is followed by washing and breakfast. In the meantime, the farmer's wife or daughter has heated the house and it is comfortably warm. Then the two comrades go on duty. The squadron leader is usually out all day. His dispatcher is more often at home. On days like that, we often have a lively chat. Most of the day, however, I am alone.

It is unimaginably cold. Minus 30 degrees and colder.

Today I have to go to Rai Gorodok. The sledge will take me across the plain in fifty minutes. In Rai Gorodok, the adjutant of my battalion hands me other papers, which I now take back to Nikolayevka. As I start the return journey, it is already beginning to get dark. We pass between the last row of houses in Rai Gorodok, slide down the shallow bank of the Torez, cross the small wooden bridge with a dull rumble and drive into the plain. Now the driver raises his arm, the horses pull hard, and the sledge whizzes into the white twilight at a brisk trot. Far away in the falling evening light, I think I can make out the first houses of Nikolayevka as dark specks. To the left in the distance lies the forest, dark and silent. From there, mounted or ski patrols could now lay our path, for our road runs almost parallel to the enemy front. I sit in the back of the sledge, the seven-shot drum revolver in my fist. Next time I’d better take the MPi (submachine gun) with me. In front of me on the box sits the driver, wrapped in his thick sheepskin. Over his shoulder hangs the carbine. Now he raises the whip again and the horses gallop off. Hastier drum the hooves, and the team chases across the plain like the wind. The runners sweep over the snow with a soft hiss. The sledge flies. It is almost dark. I have sat down on the briefcase and turned my collar in front of my face, but the cutting airstream brings tears to my eyes. After some time we have the most dangerous stretch behind us. The horses fall into a trot again. Soon we pass the orchard and then, after a bend, reach the first houses of Nikolayevka. I hand over my briefcase to the battalion command post and return to my warm farmhouse.


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Editorial 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 Epilog Anhang

January February March April May June July August September October November December Eine Art Bilanz Gedankensplitter und Betrachtungen Personen Orte Abkürzungen Stichwort-Index Organigramme Literatur Galerie:Fotos,Karten,Dokumente

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Erfahrungen i.d.Gefangenschaft Bemerkungen z.russ.Mentalität Träume i.d.Gefangenschaft

Personen-Index Namen,Anschriften Personal I.R.477 1940–44 Übersichtskarte (Orte,Wege) Orts-Index Vormarsch-Weg Codenamen der Operationen im Sommer 1942 Mil.Rangordnung 257.Inf.Div. MG-Komp.eines Inf.Batl. Kgf.-Lagerorganisation Kriegstagebücher Allgemeines Zu einzelnen Zeitabschnitten Linkliste Rotkreuzkarte Originalmanuskript Briefe von Kompanie-Angehörigen

  1. last signature Schütze on 3rd (KTB 257. I.D., NARA T-315 Roll 1804 Frame 001023), first signature Taeglichsbeck (cdr I.R. 477) on 6th (Frame 001034); from this time, Haarhaus (cdr I./477) must have commanded I.R. 477 as a deputy already
  2. KTB 257. I.D., NARA T-315 Roll 1804 Frame 001072
  3. in Smolensk
  4. On the concept of culture among the Russians, see Cartellieri p. 339
  5. The said term does not mean “ordinary” group sex; rather, it derives from a monstrous crime: On the night of August 22-23, 1926, a gang rape was committed in Leningrad on Chubarov Street, later known as the “Chubar case”. More than 30 people took part in the rape; 23 of them were classified as bandits by the court, 7 of them were sentenced to death, although at that time the maximum sentence for gang rape was only up to 8 years in prison!
  6. According to the description, they could also be fleas.