Military Review

How captivated Paulus. Eyewitness accounts of the last days of the great battle

Since the German group was surrounded at Stalingrad, our scouts began to hunt for Paulus, commander of the 6 of the German army.

Underground workers reported that his rate was in the village of Golubinskaya, 120-150 km from Stalingrad. As later recalled the adjutant of the commander, Colonel Adam, the shots of the Soviet tanks, breaking into the German rear and closing the giant ring of encirclement, were completely unexpected for the command of the group and Paulus himself. Fearing to be captured, Paulus, together with his headquarters, left the village of Golubinskaya under cover of tanks at night. As it became known later, General Paulus reached Stalingrad, where he hid in the basement of a former department store. ”

Friedrich Paulus was a remarkable figure among the German generals. Hitler declared that Paulus always accompanies victory. Divisions under his command invaded Poland in the year 1939, and in the year 1940 occupied Belgium and the Netherlands. General Paulus became one of the developers of the monstrous Barbarossa Plan, which, during the Blitzkrieg, envisaged the defeat of the Red Army and the implementation of the total genocide of the Soviet people.

In the summer of 1942, a powerful group under the command of Paulus, developing speed in the steppes, rushed to the Volga, to Stalingrad, where events occurred that would then shake the whole world.

It would seem that until the victory of the German troops was left alone, the last shot. However, the defenders of the city imposed their tactics on the enemy. The battles were for every street, for every house. The divisions of the Red Army fought, being surrounded, when 300-500 meters remained to the Volga. General Paulus was unable to assess the extent of the preparation of the encirclement of the German troops. And now, at the end of January 1943, after all his dizzying victories, he sat, driven into the basement, waiting for his fate ...

Once, as a war correspondent, veterans of Stalingrad called me: “General I.A. Laskin, who is famous for capturing Field Marshal Paulus in Stalingrad. ” I have often met the name of General Laskin in military literature. In the days of the heroic defense of Sevastopol, he commanded one of the divisions, marked by many feats. In Stalingrad, I.A. Laskin headed the headquarters of the 64 Army defending the southern areas of the city. I called the general and we met soon.

“How do we know where Paulus is?” - began his story I.A. Laskin. - In the war a lot of things decide. 30 January 1943, the staff officer of the 38 Rifle Brigade, Fedor Ilchenko arrived at the front line with another order. The fighters of the brigade were heavy fighting, moving to the center of the city. In one of the houses they captured a German major and brought him to Ilchenko. After interrogation, the German major reported that General Paulus was nearby, in the basement of the central square of Stalingrad.

Senior Lieutenant Ilchenko immediately transmitted this information to the brigade commander by radio. A few minutes later the text of this message was in the army headquarters. Fyodor Ilchenko was given the appropriate powers. ”

... early morning 31 January 1943 of the year. In the twilight of the square, rockets were slowly extinguished, illuminating with enormous ruin bulbs, fallen pillars, clotted soot at the edges of the craters with a dead light. Lieutenant Ilchenko, through an interpreter, handed over to the mouthpiece: “We suggest a cease-fire! We propose to begin negotiations on the surrender of the surrounded German army! ”After some time, a German officer came out of the department store building with a stick in his hands, on which a white rag was fastened. Senior Lieutenant Ilchenko, together with Lieutenant Mezhirko, a translator and several submachine gunners, crossed the leading edge and entered the square. No one could know what awaits them beyond the walls of a building that is plunged into the dark.

General I.A. Laskin said: “We have received a message from Ilchenko. He met with representatives of the German command. However, the chief of staff, Schmidt, told him that Paulus would negotiate only with senior officers equal to him in rank. I was ordered to go to the basement of a department store. We were in a hurry. After all, every hour of the fighting claimed the lives of soldiers.

Nobody was going from the defeated General Paulus to listen to any special conditions of surrender. We felt like winners.
We had one goal: to accept the complete and unconditional surrender of the German troops in Stalingrad.

We were driving along a snow-covered road, on the sides of which the sappers set up shields: “Be careful, mines!” The gunfire rang out closer, the sound of machine guns. In the central square, hiding behind a pile of stones, we watched for a while. In the windows of the department store, laid bricks and bags - firing points. As they later learned, the building was defended by three thousand soldiers and officers. Through a translator, we conveyed to the mouthpiece that representatives of the Red Army were coming. However, no one came to meet us. On the square one path was visible, the other approaches to the building, as we were warned, were mined. We decided not to wait for our sappers to work, and along the same path that Ilchenko walked, we moved to a fascist den.

There were five of us, along with me — the battalion commander Latyshev, the translator Stepanov, and two machine gunners. They gave the order - if necessary, cover us with fire. When we approached the entrance to the building, we saw a dense chain of German officers, who, closing the entrance to the basement, looked sullenly at us. Even when our group came close to them, they did not budge. What to do? We shouldered them away from the entrance. Fearing a shot in the back, they began to descend into a dark basement. ”

The group of General Laskin went to accept the surrender on behalf of hundreds of thousands of city dwellers: the Germans broke into Stalingrad as punitive. Bomb strikes and shells destroyed homes, schools, hospitals, theaters, museums.

On the burnt streets in earthen holes, people prayed: "Just not to get to the Germans ..."

Approaching the shelter, where mostly women with children hid, German soldiers without warning threw down grenades. The wounded were shot on the spot, alive, pushing butts, driven into the steppe. Some then got into concentration camps, others - to hard labor in Germany.

“Once in the basement, which was packed with the Nazis, we absolutely did not know which way we should go,” General IA continued. Laskin. - Moved in silence. They were afraid that when they heard the Russian language, the Germans would start shooting at a fright. We walked in the dark, holding onto the wall, hoping that we would eventually run into some kind of door. Finally, they grabbed the handle and entered the lighted room. Immediately noticed on the uniforms of the military were generals and colonel's shoulder straps. I walked up to the table in the center of the room and, loudly through a translator, said to everyone present: “We are representatives of the Red Army. Stand up! To pass weapon! ”Some got up, others hesitated. I sharply repeated the command again. None of them offered any resistance. One after another, the Germans began to give their names. Indoors were the chief of staff, General Schmidt, the commander of the southern group of troops, General Rosske, and other top military ranks.

General Rosske said that Commander Paulus had transferred him the power to negotiate. I demanded an immediate meeting with Paulus. “This is impossible,” said Schmidt. - The commander was raised by Hitler to the rank of field marshal, but at this time he does not command the army. Besides, he is unwell. ” Lightning flashed the thought: “Maybe some kind of game is going on here, and they managed to transfer Paulus to another place?” However, gradually during the interrogation of German generals, it turned out that Paulus was nearby, in the basement. I demanded that the Chief of Staff Schmidt go to him and convey our terms of the surrender of the German troops. According to my order, the battalion of Latyshev followed Schmidt in order to establish our post at Paulus's office. Do not let anyone in and out. At the door stood Private Peter Altukhov.

By that time, our group, authorized to accept the surrender of the German troops, had expanded considerably. We were joined by G.S. Lukin, head of the intelligence department, I.M. Ryzhov, commander of the 38 th infantry brigade I.D. Burmakov and other officers. And also a group of scouts.

We demanded that Generals Schmidt and Rossk immediately give orders to all troops surrounded at Stalingrad to cease fire and all resistance.

General Rosske sat down at the typewriter. In the meantime, our officers began to disarm the German military. In the corner piled into a pile of pistols, machine guns. It was a truly symbolic picture.

We took control of the telephone network, which was located at headquarters, in order to monitor what orders were given to the troops.

General Rosske gave us the text of the order, which he called “farewell.” Here is its content: “Hunger, cold, and the arbitrary capitulation of individual parts made it impossible to continue to lead the troops. To prevent the total death of our soldiers, we decided to enter into negotiations on the cessation of hostilities. Human treatment in captivity and the opportunity to return home after the end of the war is guaranteed by the Soviet Union. Such an end is the very fate that all soldiers must submit to.

I order:

Immediately lay down their arms. Soldiers and officers can take with them all the necessary things ... "

After reading this order, I told General Rosske that it should be clearly stated: “To all soldiers and officers to surrender in an organized manner.” Rosske sat down at the typewriter again and added this important indication. However, he told us that they have no connection with the northern group of troops, and the fighting continues there. Before our eyes, the headquarters of the German army began to move. For the last time in Stalingrad. On many telephones, German telecom operators gave hoarse, cold voices to the troops the text of the order.

Following the adjutant Adam, we entered Paulus.

The basement room was small, like a crypt. Having laid his hands behind his back, the field marshal walked along the concrete wall like a hunted beast.

I called myself and declared him a prisoner. Paulus, in broken Russian, uttered, apparently, a long-prepared phrase: "Field Marshal Paulus surrenders to the Red Army captive." What surprised us then was his statement about his uniform. In this situation, he found it possible to tell us that just two days ago he was promoted to field marshal. New form of clothing does not have. Therefore, it seems to us in the form of a colonel-general. Paulus said that he was acquainted with the text of the order of surrender and agreed with him. We asked him about the last orders Hitler gave him. Paulus replied that Hitler ordered to fight on the Volga and wait for the arrival of tank groups. Since we were informed that the headquarters of the German army did not have contact with a group of its troops that continued to conduct battles in the northern regions of Stalingrad, I demanded that Paulus send officers there who would deliver the order of surrender. However, Paulus refused, saying that now he is a prisoner and has no right to give orders to his soldiers.

After the defeat of German troops near Stalingrad in Germany, a three-day mourning was declared. Which historical lesson! Listening to the story of I.A. Laskin, I suddenly thought of such a different fate for two generals - V. Chuikov and F. Paulus.

IN AND. Chuikov commanded the 62-th army. Being all the days of defense in the dugout on the Volga escarpment, he shared many soldiers. He told me at the meeting:

- What were the hardest days? They are even difficult to distinguish in a series of continuous attacks. Once the Germans set fire to the oil tanks, which stood on the banks of the Volga. Burning oil gushed down a steep slope, sweeping away everything in its path. We barely jumped out of the dugout. Sheltered aside, in a ravine. And my hair, as they say, stirred on my head: what if in this situation the command and control of troops would be disturbed? They began to call the commanders of divisions and brigades on the radio, so that they knew that the command of the army remained in place and led the fighting. Our dugouts, where the army headquarters were located, were just one or two kilometers from the foot of Mamayev Kurgan. The German machine gunners used to break through so close that the headquarters security officers entered the battle.

I must say frankly: I, the chief of staff Krylov and a member of the military council Gurov were sitting with pistols in their hands, ready to commit suicide. Do not surrender in captivity!

General Chuikov, commanding the 8-th Guards Army, will reach Berlin. It so happens that at his command post, near the Reichstag, for the first time comes a truce from the fascist Reich Chancellery. He will report on the readiness of the German troops to capitulate, as well as on the fact that Hitler committed suicide. IN AND. Chuikov will be a marshal, twice Hero of the Soviet Union. He will leave a testament: to bury him on Mamayev Kurgan, next to the mass graves of his soldiers.

Field Marshal Paulus in Soviet captivity will have to go through a dramatic way. In 1944, he will join the German Free Officers movement. Even before the end of the war, Paulus will sign a statement to the German people: “For Germany, the war is lost. Germany must renounce Adolf Hitler and establish a new state power that will stop the war and create conditions for our people to live and establish peaceful, even friendly relations with our current opponents. ” At the Nuremberg Trials, Paulus appeared as a witness, citing facts that exposed the leaders of the fascist Reich. By a strange coincidence, he will leave this world through 17 years after the war on the next anniversary of the defeat of the German troops in Stalingrad.

“We rose from the basement,” said IA Laskin. - Paulus and a group of captured generals we had to take to the location of the headquarters of the 64 Army. But then I paid attention to the environment. How everything changed here while we were in the fascist headquarters. There was no German guard around the building. She was captured by our soldiers under the command of Col. I.D. Burmakova. Red Army men stood on the adjacent streets. ” Subsequently, Colonel Adam will write in his memoirs:

“The appearance of the Red Army soldiers seemed symbolic to me - it was the image of the winners. Our soldiers were not beaten or shot. Soviet soldiers among the destroyed city were pulled out of their pockets and gave pieces of bread to hungry prisoners of war. ”

The war in the city looked from the empty eye sockets of burnt houses, from each funnel, from the hillocks of mass graves covered with snow. How to understand this mercy of our fighters to prisoners who were aiming at them just yesterday?

These feelings of human dignity shown by Soviet soldiers are also part of our history, which is as significant as the memory of the great victory in Stalingrad.

In those days, radio stations around the world broadcast messages about victory on the Volga. Many congratulations came to the military leadership of the country and to Stalingrad:

"One hundred and sixty-two days of epic defense for the city, as well as the decisive result that all Americans celebrate today, will be one of the most beautiful chapters in this war of nations united against Nazism."

Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States.

"The grateful hearts of the peoples of the world enthusiastically beat and greet the fighters of the Red Army who won in Stalingrad."

From the Yugoslav newspaper "Borba".

"The victorious defense of Stalingrad is one of the exploits of which history will always speak with the greatest reverence." Writer Thomas Mann.

"Stalingrad - the Order of courage on the chest of the planet."

Poet Pablo Neruda.

The King of Great Britain sent a sword of offering, on which was inscribed:

"Citizens of Stalingrad, strong as steel, from King George VI as a sign of the deep admiration of the British people."

... And in the pictures taken in Stalingrad on that victorious day and stored now in different museums of the world, there were modest and unassuming pictures. Perched on a shell box, a fighter writes a letter. Soldiers gathered around the harmonist. From the earthen cracks the surviving inhabitants take out their children. They stretch from the pots to the field kitchen, which smokes against the background of the destroyed wall. In the snow, the soldiers are sleeping side by side, clasping their rifles. For the first time in six months, no guns are hooting; bombs are not being torn. Silent sounds of war. Silence was the first award to the soldiers of the victorious city. Wounded Stalingrad returned to life.

PS I recently read in “Arguments and Facts” that Paulus in the last years of his life apologized to the inhabitants of Stalingrad. It was strange for me to read a similar message. Only one of our kind in Stalingrad suffered terrible losses - fourteen people died under bombs and shelling. I remember their faces and voices. I saw how bombs were thrown from airplanes on the burning houses of our street. Paulus’s apology appeared only because our fighters eventually drove him into the Stalingrad basement and forced him to surrender. Otherwise, this commander would continue to exert his efforts in the implementation of the atrocious plan "Barbarossa". Later, after returning from captivity, he repeated: “The Russian people cannot be defeated by anyone!”

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  1. Byordovvv1
    Byordovvv1 9 February 2013 10: 14
    “The Russian people cannot be defeated by anyone!”

    Paulus fully agrees with these words.
    1. crazyrom
      crazyrom 26 February 2013 02: 00
      Fortunately, everyone understood this for a long time and there will be no other such war. Now, after the treacherous collapse of the Soviet Union, I hope our people will learn how to resist and destruction from within, and our country will become absolutely invincible.
  2. vladimirZ
    vladimirZ 9 February 2013 10: 54
    The city on the Volga, which became the symbol of Victory, needs to return the proud and glorious name of Stalingrad.
    Stalingrad is a symbol of the Victory over fascism for the whole world.
  3. datur
    datur 9 February 2013 12: 00
    The city on the Volga, which became the symbol of Victory, needs to return the proud and glorious name of Stalingrad.
    Stalingrad is a symbol of the Victory over fascism for the whole world .-- I support 100 percent !! the main thing is not to listen to any liberals !!!! STALINGRAD !!! AND DOT !!!
  4. Iraclius
    Iraclius 9 February 2013 13: 08
    Thanks to the author! Such a memory must be protected from all, even the slightest, attempts to blacken. And then I was recently answered here that Chuikov walked in white gloves and was afraid to get his hands dirty.
    To sit on the line of direct contact with the enemy for the army commander is, comrades, a lot! soldier

    Eternal memory to the defenders of Stalingrad!
    1. dftt
      dftt 10 February 2013 11: 52
      General Chuykov did not know the shame of 41 years. At that time he was an adviser to the Kuomintang army at Chai Kan Shi. Monster eczema was on the payback. The General really wore white gloves and a cane so that colleagues would not feel disgust if necessary to say hello.
  5. Krasnoyarsk
    Krasnoyarsk 9 February 2013 13: 42
    The Soviet people won, the fundamental part of which were Russians. And on the name "Stalingrad" it is worth holding an all-Russian referendum.
  6. Iraclius
    Iraclius 9 February 2013 14: 00
    I am sure this is not possible. The results of the referendum will be stunning for the authorities, despite all efforts to denigrate the name of Stalin.
  7. Goldmitro
    Goldmitro 9 February 2013 14: 15
    <<< "One hundred and sixty-two days of epic defense of the city, as well as the decisive result that all Americans celebrate today, will be one of the finest chapters in this war of nations united against Nazism."
    Franklin D. Roosevelt, US President. >>>
    More often, Messrs. Arrogant-Sraxes and other democratizers and human beings of America and Europe would remind these words to their young generation and explain to whom the WORLD owes victory over NAZISM!
  8. Black
    Black 9 February 2013 16: 23
    Paulus, like a warrior, is a solid five. And the man turned out to be cowardly.
  9. sprut
    sprut 9 February 2013 19: 57
    Entertaining article. It is always interesting to read about how some previously powerful state or the position of leaders is in a dead end and agony ...
  10. Aaron Zawi
    Aaron Zawi 9 February 2013 21: 39
    General Laskin was arrested in December 1943 on charges of treason and betrayal. In 1952, he was convicted of 10 years. In 1953, he was acquitted and reinstated in frames. He continued to serve as the chief of staff of the Ural District and the SA Instructors Group.
    1. family tree
      family tree 10 February 2013 00: 11
      This was due to the fact that the fact of his stay in captivity was revealed. He was suspected of espionage and sabotage work in favor of the enemy. The general did not admit these accusations, but confirmed the fact of being in captivity. The investigation dragged on for more than 8 years. Only in 1952 did Laskin appear before the HCVS. He managed to prove that he was not guilty of treason and espionage. As a result, the HCVS acquitted Laskin under Article 58-1 "b", but sentenced him to 10 years in labor camp under Article 193-17а. However, at the same meeting of the HCVS, a decree on amnesty in connection with the Victory over fascism was read out to him and the general was released from custody. However, Laskin was not reinstated in the army. On May 29.05.53, XNUMX, the verdict was canceled, he was fully rehabilitated.
      Those. being in a rather weak position, he hid his stay in captivity. Was it necessary to give a medal?
  11. I think so
    I think so 10 February 2013 00: 35
    "The Russian people cannot be defeated by anyone!" - looking at the current state of affairs in Russia, instead of an exclamation mark, a question mark somehow asks ...
  12. dftt
    dftt 10 February 2013 11: 59
    In 1965, General Chuikov performed in the assembly hall in front of the students of the Kiev Poly. The children of the soldiers of Victory no longer knew the horror of the war. The general was frank: "They brought the German major to my headquarters. He is all like an Aryan. He says, Give up, I am ready to accept surrender, subhumans. In 30 minutes my soldiers will tear you up. Well, how Do you need to talk to him? I ordered to put him on the tank naked ..... And now stand up. The scrotum and part of the loin remained on the tank. Frost 30 degrees. He sang like a nightingale. " The students were shocked.
  13. saf34tewsdg
    saf34tewsdg 10 February 2013 12: 16
    Imagine, it turns out that our authorities have complete information about each of us. And now she has appeared on the Internet Very surprised and scared,
    my correspondence, addresses, phone numbers, even found my nude photo, I can’t even imagine from where. The good news is that the data can be deleted from the site, of course, I used it and I advise everyone not to hesitate
  14. Aiviar
    Aiviar 10 February 2013 14: 03
    Yes, "warrior"! Around him, the soldiers are dying from enemy attacks, hunger and frost, and he laments that he did not have time to sew the mold for the new title for the "ceremonial" surrender.
    Zvanitse accepted with trepidation ... and the ringleader then wrote it out to him along with the order to stand to death, by the way. It is good, of course, that we did not have to destroy them "at the root" and pay for it with even more blood. But this their commander deserves nothing but ridicule and contempt. ... And who is the strategist? The one who won the battle, or who was "ripped out?"
    1. Evrepid
      Evrepid 15 February 2013 12: 29
      I apologize! Be that as it may, but the Germans died in World War II less than the Soviet people.

      So a victory in 1945, although a victory, but "Pirova" ... Cities have been destroyed to the ground, cities in the west have suffered, but not destroyed to the ground (there are exceptions, but on the whole much more intact), colossal losses in babies, which were taken from the territory of the USSR and did not return back ...

      It’s very bitter to realize all this.
  15. Veteran
    Veteran 10 February 2013 21: 31
    Quote: dftt
    monstrous eczema on the hands. General really wore white gloves

    Clarification. Chuikov did not wear white gloves, but bleeding cracks in his hands from eczema required periodic sanitation, which the nurse did to him with manganese solution, and then bandaged his hands with bandages. From a distance, these bandaged hands were mistaken for those wearing white gloves.