Confession of the enemy: two different views on the same thing

Confession of the enemy: two different views on the same thing

The newspaper "Red Star" with the comments of Ilya Ehrenburg published this material 29 December 1943 year. That is, when everything on the fronts was already more or less clear, but our enemies still had some hopes. These are the diary entries of a German officer, found ... Well, you already understood who and when, since the diary was in the "Red Star".

Even today, this very curious historical document, the diary of Lieutenant Wehrmacht Brandes, is ambiguous. No, unlike Ehrenburg, I would not call the German Brandes subhuman, for this would equalize me with him, since in the eyes of Brandes I am the subhuman.

However, I suggest everyone once again familiarize themselves with his diary and just then listen to yourself, through a feeling of deep satisfaction that this reptile was nevertheless pounded into the ground, and compare the concepts of values. Still, 76 years have passed ...

6 / 7. On such days, I can’t even think about my romance. Soon the fifth year, but no end is visible. Yesterday our offensive began - north of Kharkov. We got enough this year, it's time to do something. Officers from the SS division are surprised at the pessimism that prevails in our division. They collected the best human material. Each corporal here would be a sergeant major. Moreover, they drink, coddle, and ours often do not eat to the full. Nevertheless, the SS is robbed and taken away from the local residents.

9 / 7. If I were ten years younger, I would go to the SS, be a ss-Fuhrer. Of course, they are limited and overly optimistic, but nevertheless a new, young Germany lives in them.

14 / 7. Disappointing news. The battle in the areas of Belgorod - Oryol. Heavy bombing of the Rhine region. Our beautiful country is devastated. I can’t sleep - I think about it. Is this really the beginning of the end? Will everything be lost again in the fifth year of the war? Truly happy idiots and deceived. But the number of those who understand is growing. The mind constantly observes the signs of death, but the heart does not want to believe. In my talk I got so carried away that it was like a sermon. No, Germany cannot give up its goals! We fight for our living space and for our German way of life.

17 / 7. Yesterday, a large Russian offensive began on the site of our division. The main blow was aimed at the southern flank between Petrovskaya and Izyum. There is our 457 regiment. Russians everywhere succeeded in breaking into our location. They surrounded several settlements. The fighting was fierce. My 466 regiment was at first behind, as it was in the army reserve. By noon, the situation became serious, and we were brought into battle. All day terrible mess. Orders, counter orders. Our battalion covers the CP of the division. They even threw a company of convalescing people who arrived just yesterday from Germany: one rifle for three!

18 / 7. Russians bomb battle formations and rear areas. Air battles. In the afternoon, Russians advance with tanks. After which the Viking SS moved. Local breakthroughs have been stopped, but Russian attacks are intensifying. They fight very hard. Our division has no more reserves. 466 regiment disbanded, leftovers poured into the 457 regiment. Let's hope that tomorrow will feel better.

21 / 7. Early in the morning a large Russian attack with tanks began. Both division commanders were not. Russians came from the east, from the south and from the west. I managed to reassure a handful of our infantrymen and force several gunners to return to their guns.

23 / 7. Trying to hide in the ground, hard as a stone, this is not easy. A lot of losses. There is nothing to hope for replenishment. I have never seen such a hurricane fire. Oh, if we had our army of 1941 of the year!

25 / 7. In seven days we lost 246 from 119: 31 killed, 88 in the infirmary. In addition, 36 are easily injured.

1 / 8. I think of our enormous losses. In most cases, we could not even bury the dead. Two terrible winters, and our army has melted. So many meaningless victims! Thinking about the future with horror. How happy those who died in Poland and in France - they believed in victory!

3 / 8. We have the right to be proud of our defense. But still, for the first time, the Russians decided to attack in the summer.

4 / 8. If the Russians manage to throw us out of their country, the strength of Russia will increase. Then no one can cope with them for many decades.

5 / 8. Gloomy news: passed the Eagle. About two years ago, I participated in the occupation of this city. I received then an iron cross of 2 degree. What irony - it was precisely today that they gave me an iron cross of 1 degree!

7 / 8. In the morning, the Russians bombed our positions and passing SS units. A terrible picture: the dead, screams, ruins. This was repeated every two to three hours. On all roads.

8 / 8. Continuously air raids. Passing SSs were hit hard. Criminal irresponsibility: no cover.

15 / 8. Nonsense that the war could go on for another four years. But what will be the end? How can it be? "There will be no triumph, but only a fall without dignity." No, Germany must survive! Again mad madness takes me, she turns into hatred of the rulers. We all forgot how to laugh. But Germany will live, if only these round fools do not completely destroy it.

23 / 8. This morning the Russians rejoiced in their trenches. We decided that they were preparing for an attack. It turned out we surrendered Kharkov. Another heavy blow. Fights on all sectors of the front. When did one people have to go through so many defeats in such a short time? And the bombing of Germany continues.

24 / 8. The bombing of Berlin crushed everyone. Elrabe (wife of K.F. Brandes) and I can easily turn out to be paupers. In addition, we are attached to things. Here is Germany after ten years of the national socialist system and after four years of war! Really, we wanted another. May fate be more merciful to us than we deserve it.

25 / 8. Himmler - Minister of the Interior. We continue to follow the intended path. “The end of fate cannot be avoided ...” Many, even smart people, consider the slightest hint of thought as something dangerous, almost a state crime. Something pushes me: to think through to the end, to understand the reason. But the most recent findings, I do not dare to entrust even the diary.

1 / 9. Four years ago, this drama began. She becomes a tragedy. I was put in charge of the train: 100 people and 180 horses. The British landed in Italy. After Oryol and Kharkov - Taganrog. Again bombed Berlin. The retreat continues here. Although the front is still holding, everything takes on the character of flight. Agricultural managers must take inventory before they finish harvesting and threshing. This way Germany will get little. What power was given to one person! ..

5 / 9. It is unlikely that the Germans will emerge victorious from this struggle against Russian land and Russian nature. How many children, how many women, and all give birth and all bear fruit, despite destruction and death! Long mournful cries are carried around the village - and the population is evacuated here. What a pity that uncleared bread remains in the fields! Potatoes, corn, sunflowers, pumpkins ... In Germany there are now millions of homeless vagrants on the roads.

7 / 9. We surrendered Slavyansk. Obviously, we will lose all of Eastern Ukraine with the Donbass. The bridgeheads in the Kuban also can not be held. What we are now losing, we will never return. Will we really have to lose all of Russia? Continuous bombing of Germany. Everyone is now hoping for one thing: a long-announced blow to England. If this does not happen - the end.

8 / 9. The civilian population of this village has been evacuated. There are so many sunflowers around that it would be possible to provide a small city with oil. Barns: oats, barley, rye, millet. Everything is threshed, but cannot be taken out. What is left here can be fed Berlin for a year. The heart is bleeding. And part of the population is hiding in corn: they do not want to leave. The moans of women and the crying of children are heard from afar. The Germans, listening to these complaints, think about Germany. How much valuable is destroyed there! My thoughts anxiously return to our Berlin apartment. After all, we had so many wonderful things, paintings, furniture, books ...

9 / 9. Donets not hold. Who would have thought that the Russian offensive could be so successful! Just received the news of Italy's unconditional surrender. The sun is shining, but I would like the earth to be covered in darkness! The last action of the tragedy has begun. We have a very gloomy winter. Now too hasty retreats will begin. Such an end after such a triumph! It was necessary to drive away our mediocre politicians for a long time. We pay for their stupidity and swagger. We took possession of the whole of Europe, but the successes corrupted the Germans, they became conceited and arrogant. And our rulers have lost all sense of proportion. In my opinion, Hitler is a big personality, but he lacks depth and insight. He is an amateur in almost all areas. Apparently, he is poorly versed in people. Goering is perhaps the most popular of all - he is not a dogma, but a man of common sense. But he walks through the corpses. Himmler's beliefs and goals can be judged by his appearance. Goebbels is cunning, but he is a petty person: politics from the back door, representative of the third estate, proletarianized Talleyrand. Funk doesn’t have an Aryan look, clumsy and ugly. His frivolity and cheers are one of the reasons for our grief. Lei looks like Funk. Vain and narcissistic. Obviously from the same test. Ribbentrop - Mr. Comme il faut of the Third Reich, is certainly poorly educated and badly educated. Parvenu. And in the military field not a single major person with the exception of Rommel. If we had the strength to throw the Americans into the Mediterranean Sea and begin operations against England!

10 / 9. Villages are ablaze everywhere. What a misfortune that we could not keep this fertile land for at least another month! Wild pictures of flight and disorder. A retreat always costs more blood and material loss than an offensive. Why such a haste? In Lozova we saw the authorities - von Mackensen. He, too, was not calm. When the Russians tried to break through, he was at a loss. I rarely saw such confusion, although thousands of soldiers, many officers, and even a general, were sent for defense. Yesterday I received eight written orders, one contrary to the other.

12 / 9. 62 division completely defeated. We come across her remnants. Now our southern flank is exposed.

23 / 9. A catastrophic retreat here and no clearance in Italy. I want to bang my head against the wall and howl with rage. The frivolity and mediocrity of rulers suffering from megalomania are to blame.

27 / 9. 24-go in Dnepropetrovsk, which was just evacuated. A lot of grief. Major blasting. Disbandment of the convoy, return to the regiment The third battalion has been disbanded. Ominous signs are multiplying - carts and rear parts swell. Yesterday I met a regimental convoy, which consisted of at least 950 people. The colonel should have been arrested. Indeed, in our entire regiment there are not so many people. And they all carry women and junk with them. Unhappy Germany! In all respects, it is now worse than in the 1914 — 18 years. Our fighting strength has disappeared, and the Russians are getting stronger any day. The general only today has brought to the field court 9 people from our battalion who cowardly fled from the Russians. Where did we go in the fifth year of the war? But we have no right to dissolve, otherwise the dam will break through and horror will begin. The Russians from yesterday captured the bridgeheads on our side of the Dnieper. For two days now they have been fighting off our strongest counterattacks, inflicting heavy losses on us. You only hear about the dead and wounded. Tomorrow morning we must dump them.

28 / 9. Russian artillery is very strong and breaks everything. Great disagreement between the colonel and the general. Tank attacks and dive bombers also help little. The infantry is greatly weakened by heavy losses. From the 1th battalion there are few ... There are almost more staff officers in the ranks than ordinary soldiers. Decent confusion. Counterattacks are delayed from hour to hour or choke ... Russians shoot like crazy. A pile of dead and wounded is growing. I write the last lines and go to the positions. I’ll find few there. The battalion has melted. We are finally at a standstill. Germany appeals to her last sons. However, most do not want to follow this call.

29 / 9. I took the first company. There were only a few people in it. 26 soldiers remained in the entire battalion. The hardest Russian fire lasts for hours. Every house is trembling, every corner is pierced through and through. With a small number of people, this is a real slaughter. I received an order to collect the remains. Afternoon scary cries, a breakthrough of the front, the rolling away of all units and, finally, a wild flight. I stood in a small village and to no avail tried to stop the fleeing. A terrible picture of decay. One young officer I was forced to kick in the ass. It was not successful. By threats, it was possible to collect no more than ten people

3 / 10. I command 1, 2 and 3 companies. In fact, all three companies make up a handful, no more than 30 people. There were two twins from Alsace in our company, who became defectors and now turn to us on the radio. The former sled also sends greetings to his wife. Inspiration and impulse go over to the side of the Russians. I have never heard such terrible curses as now from our wounded.

4 / 10. Inspected new positions. Everything is pretty good, only if we had soldiers! A general offensive to the Dnieper is not planned, since we do not have enough forces for this. On the contrary, they expect further breakthroughs from the Russians.

6 / 10. Yesterday, the replenishment finally came, and I made up a completely new company. We are 35 people, including 10 officers and 1 non-commissioned officers. Almost all people are elderly. Correspondence with the relatives of the victims. It's amazing how quickly many are comforted. In three letters, the wives demand the shaving devices of the dead to be sent to them. Political and martial law is getting worse from day to day. Do not be upset about the little things. Oh Germany, Germany!

7 / 10. Russian artillery and mortars fired briskly. German artillery responded quite successfully from time to time. Our new machine guns did not fire. A lot of trouble in this regard.

8 / 10. One friend had a Spanish newspaper with all kinds of interesting messages. I also read several completely new opinions about Hess (Hitler's assignment). This fits well with our extremely dumb policy. Children and fools made politics, they dressed in Machiavellian clothes, which, in essence, did not suit them at all. We played too long with fire and thought that it would burn only for us. These are the consequences of Goebbels propaganda. For so long we have been presented with a distorted idea of ​​the world and of all things, that we began to take our illusions for the truth. Today, lively artillery activities towards Zaporozhye. They say that we have already begun to blow everything up there. Just not that! Then our position here will become even more critical. After all, the rolling shaft must stop somewhere, and it should be here on the Dnieper!

15 / 10. Any action taken with the soldiers of the fifth year of the war is risky. They fight badly, it is almost impossible to force them to go on the attack. Zaporozhye delivered.

18 / 10. Unfortunately, I have almost no non-commissioned officers, and the few that still exist are worthless. Therefore, I must do everything myself. One sergeant-servant must be persuaded when he shoots, the other is a nurse and transferred only because of an offense against § 175. Of my three non-commissioned officers, one was a Captainarmus, the other a clerk, and the third, he spent four years in the war in command in Poznan.

22 / 10. The Russians are shelling us - we cannot stick our heads out of our holes. From early morning until late at night, I run, push, cheer. We must hold out and hold out. Towards the end of the day, the Russians broke through the right flank on a wide front. In addition, about a hundred Russians lay in our rear. In the east and south is the Dnieper, the road to the west is cut off. You cannot count on large counterattacks - there are not enough reserves. An order has just been received to drop everything that we cannot take with us. So again, a retreat! That's too much. It is almost impossible to bear it. Everything has its limits. Oh, these idiotic politicians who in the fifth year of the war inflict such suffering on our people! Unhappy Germany!

* * *

The diary breaks off at these words.

Wehrmacht Lieutenant K.F. Brandes was killed on 24 on October 1943 on the right bank of the Dnieper south of Dnepropetrovsk. With him they found a diary. “In case of death, I ask, without reading, to forward this diary to my wife. K.F. Brandes. "

Alas, the document was in the hands of others and was published in the newspaper. You can draw completely different conclusions from what you read, but ... Has everything changed so much in terms of the perception of enemy confessions?

Good question, right?

The newspaper "Red Star" №307 from 29 December 1943 years.
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