Military Review

Stalingrad Madonna. Not in the power of God, but in truth

Stalingrad Madonna. Not in the power of God, but in truth"Over the visible traces of the dead, starved, frozen German soldiers will never be a cross, a gravestone will not be hoisted." These lines about the crushing final for the invaders of the Battle of Stalingrad were later written by Field Marshal Erich von Manstein. According to him, only the memory of inexpressible sufferings and death remained.

That was the end for one of the best in the German Wehrmacht, the 6 Army, commanded by Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus. Unprecedented in scale, bitterness, and military and political consequences, the Stalingrad Battle of 2 in February of 1943 ended in a complete victory for the Soviet troops.

Those of the soldiers of 6 Army Paulus, who, after passing through the captivity, returned home and lived to this day, talk about the vision that visited them on Christmas Eve 1942 of the year. There, in the Stalingrad "cauldron", in trenches and dugouts covered in snow, the icon of the Mother of God appeared before their eyes. Exhausted by cold and hunger, embraced by a sense of doom, people initially perceived it as a mystical vision, and some of the officers decided that it was a hallucination.

But the icon really was. At the request of its weakened "camerendeen", it was created by a military doctor from the 16th tank Division Kurt Roiber. He was an intellectual, a well-educated person: doctor, artist, theologian. In the division, he also performed the duties of a pastor. On the back of the Russian geographical map for schoolchildren, Roiber painted the Virgin with the sleeping little Jesus. Virgin Mary holds the baby in her arms, gently clutching it to her to warm. On the perimeter of the charcoal painted icon is the inscription: “Light, life, love. Christmas in the "cauldron". Fortress of Stalingrad, 1942. " Later, the icon of Roiber began to be called the "Stalingrad Madonna."

But even before the colleagues asked Kurt to paint the icon, he, as a pastor, was already internally prepared for this, seeing not only their deprivation, but also the suffering of the local population. “I constantly look into their faces,” Roiber said in his letters to his relatives. - The Russian man remains a mystery to me in everything. You constantly face the Slavic soul as an impenetrable wall of fog. And you never know what you will see when it opens: a soft warm light or even greater darkness. ”

Roiber perceived the soul of the prayers of civilians for salvation. In the prayers of the pastor, according to the recollections of German veterans, the thought was sounded that mankind would learn to distinguish between good and evil. But when he began writing the “Madonna”, his compatriots had to pray for salvation. The ring of encirclement in Stalingrad around the 6 Army shrank inexorably. Tank formations under the command of Colonel-General Herman Goth attempted to break through the Soviet ring and unlock the surrounded Paulus group. But in the course of the Kotelnikovo and Middle-Don operations conducted by the Soviet troops, they were not only stopped, but also far back. 23 December 1942, on the eve of the Catholic Christmas Eve, hope for outside help has collapsed.

At first, Roiber posted his creation in his dugout. Here is how he himself commented on the reaction of his colleagues: “When the door opened and my comrades entered, they stopped dug in reverent silence, struck by a picture hanging on a clay wall, under which a fire burned on a log in an earthen wall. The whole Christmas festival was impressed by the drawing and the words framing it: light, life, love. ”

The dugout, where the Madonna was located, became a place of pilgrimage for German soldiers. And then the doctor and priest Roiber began to go around the other frozen soldier’s dugouts with the icon, in order to encourage them before Christmas.

It would seem that later for tens of thousands of captured German soldiers, Paulus’s army was no longer up to the icon of Roiber. The last of them returned to the postwar Vaterland only in 1956 year. But all these years they remembered her, spoke in the camp barracks during the long winter evenings. The author of the Stalingrad Madonna himself was also in Soviet captivity. He was sent to the NKVD camp No. 97 in the Elabugi area. This is a small old town in Tatarstan, surrounded by forests, on the right bank of the Kama, in 215 km east of Kazan. There, near Elabuga, January 20 1944, Kurt Roiber died. But the self-portrait of Roiber is preserved (his photocopy is in my collection).

And most importantly, the Stalingrad Madonna itself has been preserved. Kurt Roiber's friend, who was injured, was evacuated from Stalingrad, among other wounded officers. It was he who brought the icon from the Stalingrad "boiler" on the last plane to Germany. In 1983, Reiber’s relatives transferred it to the Berlin Protestant church, Kaiser Wilhelm. It is known as the Temple of Commemoration. The icon of Kurt Roiber is recognized as canonical. It was consecrated by church hierarchs of three European cities: Archbishop Volsky and Saratov Pimen and church representatives of cities seriously affected during the Second World War: English Coventry (sister of Volgograd) and German Berlin.

Recently, schoolchildren from Volgograd Gymnasium No. 9 visited Germany. The trip took place within the framework of the Russian-German project “Art in the Trenches”. Volgograd schoolchildren knowledgeably told German peers about the "Stalingrad Madonnas". Its copy is in the Volgograd Catholic Church of St. Nicholas. It was presented to the temple by former Wehrmacht soldiers who came to the city on the Volga from Austria. They also talked about a picture by local artist Vladislav Koval dedicated to the icon of Roiber. It depicts four bowed, haggard German soldiers in a trench. Two in helmets, two others wrapped with scarves. Bowed over Jesus, the Virgin Mary is outlined by a circle that exudes light. It is the light of life, hope and peace.

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  1. Straiser
    Straiser 23 February 2013 10: 11
    The German people themselves became hostage to the political decisions of their leadership. And our task is not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
    1. w.ebdo.g
      w.ebdo.g 23 February 2013 10: 50
      The Russian man in everything remains a mystery to me. Constantly you find yourself in front of the Slavic soul as before an impenetrable wall of fog. And you never know what you will see when it opens: soft warm light or even greater darkness ...

      Well, what did he think? Did they believe that everyone would scatter only at their brilliant appearance?
      but here there is such an "ambush" - we survived when no one in the world believed any more, surrounded and completely defeated the 6th Army ...

      this was an application for the whole world - "whoever comes with a sword ... from that only helmets will remain" then everyone remembers ...

    2. mankurt
      mankurt 24 February 2013 03: 32
      About the book: Joachim Wieder participated in the Battle of the Volga as part of the 6th Army as an officer for special assignments and as an intelligence officer of the VIII Army Corps of this army. He took part in the battles near Kharkov, and then with the 6th army he reached Stalingrad, where he shared the fate of the encircled troops. For several years, Wieder was in Soviet captivity, and then returned to West Germany, where he lives today. Wieder is the son of a Catholic priest, a very religious person who cannot be suspected of sympathizing with communism. - (From the preface).
      The book "Disaster on the Volga" lies here:
      A few excerpts on the topic:

      In severe frosts, the army fought without winter uniforms in the open steppe. The number of sick and wounded was growing by leaps and bounds, the lack of necessary medicines and the lack of the most basic conditions for providing medical care were felt more and more sharply.
      And to this day, with a shudder, I recall the summaries of losses daily received at the headquarters of our VIII Corps from the headquarters of the divisions that were part of it: it was a chilling bookkeeping of death; people died not only in battles - shortly after Christmas, the number of people who died from cold and exhaustion sharply increased.

      (Wider I. Disaster on the Volga. Memoirs of the 6th Army reconnaissance officer Paulus / Translated from German by A. V. Lebedev and H. S. Portugalov. - M.: Progress, 1965. ≡
      Wieder J. Stalingrad und die ver ant Wortunc des Soldaten. V. Manstein, Paulus, V. Seydlitz. - München: Nymphenburger, 1962.)
      1. Yoshkin Kot
        Yoshkin Kot 25 February 2013 08: 54
        damn, probably the Germans had never been to Russia before? and they didn’t know that something unexpected would come in the winter, that’s a coincidence! winter?
        all the tales about "General Moroz" are ridiculous! no winter uniforms? so whose fault is it?
    3. redwolf_13
      redwolf_13 24 February 2013 04: 14
      Well, something, this hostage with great pleasure trampled robbed and raped my homeland. Good hostage. And he got what he deserved. And there’s nothing to breed snot in sugar.
      1. does it
        does it 24 February 2013 20: 10
        Quote: redwolf_13
        Well, something, this hostage with great pleasure trampled robbed and raped my homeland. Good hostage. And he got what he deserved. And there’s nothing to breed snot in sugar.

        yes, "woe to the vanquished"
    4. does it
      does it 24 February 2013 20: 35
      Quote: straiser
      The German people themselves became hostage to the political decisions of their leadership. And our task is not to repeat the mistakes of the past

      German Goering said at the Nuremberg trials "this herd chose us by itself" and so we got it!
      1. I think so
        I think so 25 February 2013 00: 24
        I very much agree with you, the words "German people", "hostage" are bullshit, they ALL as one (!) Were eager to seize and kill. They screamed in hysterical ecstasy of victories. And then some kind of mythical nonsense carries Straiser about the "German people hostage". This Straiser or D. Fool or a German who is now busy whitening that part of German history.
    5. Yoshkin Kot
      Yoshkin Kot 25 February 2013 08: 52
      I don’t quite agree with you, the Nazis' coming to power was predetermined by the lawlessness that the Jews committed in the Weimar Republic, the same thing happened in Russia as in the 1990s, it only happened to lose in a real and not a cold war.
  2. Octavian avgust
    Octavian avgust 23 February 2013 10: 18
    History needs to remember that don't repeat your mistakes over and over again! yes
  3. Andrey57
    Andrey57 23 February 2013 10: 18
    Not otherwise, we should just burst into tears from pity for those subhumans who came to the banks of the Volga to destroy our country. And my grandfather, who went to war from the Volkhov Front to the Zeelov Heights near Berlin and with the Japanese from Manchuria to Port Arthur, until the end of his days could not calmly look at German tourists on the Volga, even senile eyes became dark and nodules rolled on his cheekbones .. .
    1. Danash I
      Danash I 27 February 2013 22: 19
      my father was buried in 1995 with a fragment under his right shoulder blade. he came out from under the left shortly before my birth in 1953.9 they were removed in 1943 near Belgorod and in the rear of Tashkent. He looked askance at the German tourists, but I didn’t consider them fools either beasts. once grumbled themselves asked for it. Now I understand him, now.
  4. apro
    apro 23 February 2013 11: 05
    No, all the same, there is a difference between the suffering of a German in Stalingrad 42-43 and somewhere in Germany 44-45.
    APASUS 23 February 2013 11: 42
    The Germans remembered about God! Before this defeat, insight did not occur?
    Sometimes it is very instructive to read the notes of GERMAN soldiers from the front, WHAT TO REMEMBER !!
    1. does it
      does it 24 February 2013 20: 15
      Quote: APASUS
      Sometimes it is very instructive to read the notes of GERMAN soldiers from the front, WHAT TO REMEMBER!

      I read these diaries, memoirs, some are justified, others are sorry. All the same, they took the oath personally before the Fuhrer. but one thing catches on "God forbid to write something like that tomorrow somewhere under the walls of Delhi", my own relatives died in the first assault on Leningrad, a German shell flew into the window. Others fought and reached Konigsberg.
  6. 955535
    955535 23 February 2013 13: 15
    They came to kill and bring us suffering and hardship, but they were killed themselves. And how they suffered at the same time is not interesting to me. Blood for blood . My two grandfathers defended Stalingrad and defended it, having paid in full for this. They survived, they were lucky. Thank them for everything and rest in peace.
  7. wow
    wow 23 February 2013 13: 58
    Nobody called you to us, didn’t invite you! The result is natural for all uninvited guests of our land. It was, it is, and it always will be. Both of my grandfathers did not return from that war. So I have no desire to regret the mountains of German corpses in our fields !!! soldier
  8. Vlaleks48
    Vlaleks48 23 February 2013 14: 03
    Grandfather have you been to war?
    Did you kill people?
    You have so many awards, for what have you been awarded?
    For killing the fascists!
    We did not call them to our land!
  9. Black
    Black 23 February 2013 14: 36
    I remember the footage of the German chronicles of 41. How far these "faces" were from the Madonna.
  10. albert
    albert 23 February 2013 17: 06
    There is a similar article on Inosmi. Here's how it seems to me the best commentary from there on this matter. "The Mother of God of the Fascists is the Madonna devouring the children of Leningrad, bathing in the blood of Babi Yar, dancing in the fire of the bombing of Stalingrad." Personally, I am not sorry for the Nazis. Whoever comes to kill, let him be killed!
  11. He is
    He is 23 February 2013 17: 15
    Nobody called these nits to our land! These subhumans killed children, raped women, destroyed cities. Calm down, what suffering, what hardship, what forgiveness? I don’t forgive any European freak, no matter what nationality, for 27 million Soviet lives!
    1. Klim
      Klim 23 February 2013 23: 10
      How much anger is in you. In our family, five people have not come from the war since the war, the village simply ceased to exist, the entire male population was either killed or returned crippled, but at the same time, the widows and wives of the front-line soldiers fed the deported Germans of the Volga region and then the prisoners. Our people did not have the bestial anger that I see in your comment. By the way, my neighbor was in occupation in the Donbass, so they had regular Wehrmacht troops and they did nothing wrong with them, although his father defended Moscow at that time. Just people put in such circumstances, nothing depended on them. So the motherland said it should be means it should, in independence where you have a homeland in Germany or in Russia.
      1. tomket
        tomket 23 February 2013 23: 32
        And my Great-grandfather, the intelligence officer in the concentration camp near Millerovo died, his legs were shot from MG, and the police creature gave him away when the villagers were hiding him in the farm, and Great-Grandmother was evacuated from the village before the occupation, the very 6 army was going to Stalingrad, so as she was the wife of the Red Army soldier and she would have been shot right away, so there should be no sympathy for the monsters of this very 6 army, since she found herself too bloody, and that they died for so long, suffered from the cold and writhed from hunger , this is God's mercy, my is at least someone whose hands are not stained with blood were not gone to the bottom of Hell
      2. redwolf_13
        redwolf_13 24 February 2013 04: 33
        They fed yes prisoners, but this is our Slavic blood. We can forgive our enemies.
        But I want to remind you of another. Prisoners of war in German territory and stolen to work. Something there civilians did not have great kindness to our soldiers, women and adolescents. They took the slave with great pleasure to work in the fields and the conditions there were no different from the concentration camps. Ashes were taken to fertilize the fields. They wrote requests for the issue of things left from the prisoners of the camps. So why should I not have a grudge against subhuman. Which, from small to large, considered us ALL cattle fit only to work for them and quietly die. No, this will not happen. I will always tell my children and grandchildren about them. To be known and not forgotten.
        1. Kahlan amnell
          Kahlan amnell 12 March 2013 09: 47
          So why should I not feed anger to subhuman. Which, from small to large, considered us ALL cattle fit only to work for them and quietly die.
          Because you are a man! And man knows the bitter price of suffering and pain.
          No, this will not happen. I will always tell my children and grandchildren about them. To be known and not forgotten.

          And they did not allow a repetition.
      3. valerei
        valerei 25 February 2013 12: 27
        Klim, I did not begin to minus, because for some reason I realized that you said it sincerely. Well, then, everyone has the right to their opinion and the right to freely express it. And in my opinion, Russia only survived because it stood on two legs: Good and anger. And in Russia, one cannot be separated from the other, and I still have not understood: fortunately or unfortunately.
  12. cumastra1
    cumastra1 23 February 2013 21: 44
    The war does not end until the last soldier of the war is buried. And then it will be like with the French - to put monuments on Borodino ... Both eyes out if this happens!
  13. tomket
    tomket 23 February 2013 23: 16
    a man came to God and asked:
    “God, why do you allow suffering, war and murder on earth?”
    God answered:
    -Do you not like all this?
    -Yes, we are against all this!
    -Well, don't do this ....
    1. WW3
      WW3 24 February 2013 17: 20
      It reminded me of another ...
      A beggar prays to God, asks to send him a prize in a lottery ticket. Day prays, week, month. And there was no money either. The poor fellow was upset, reproached the Lord in his hearts: - I pray day and night, and you, Lord, do not want to hear me! A thunderous voice came from the sky: “So do something!” At least buy a lottery ticket.©
  14. scorpiosys
    scorpiosys 24 February 2013 01: 25
    There is a holy thing and it is not for us to judge it. The Lord descends and descends to his sickest children. He himself said - I’m not going to the righteous - but to sinners ...
    In them is the descent of God and mercy. Believe it or not, you want it ...
    Even the robber crucified next to the Lord, but recognizing his sins, was with the Lord in the kingdom of heaven that day. Forgive me for the high style, here it is appropriate.

    Please forgive me. Forgot the most important thing.
    This saying has been hanging for two years
    over the icons on my wall.
  15. WW3
    WW3 24 February 2013 16: 42
    for tens of thousands of captured German soldiers, the Paulus army was no longer up to the Roiber icon. The last of them returned to post-war Faterland only in 1956. But all these years they remembered her, they talked in camp huts on long winter evenings.

    Of course, the Germans will remember eight hundred thousand losses in the Battle of Stalingrad, more than one hundred thousand prisoners, mourning in Germany after the battle. Stalingrad is a brand now.
    Reise, Reise, eloquent shots in modern processing ....
  16. akm8226
    akm8226 25 February 2013 01: 03
    I would cry but ... nobody called them to our land.
  17. Waroc
    Waroc 25 February 2013 08: 05
    I want to speak on a topic like - Not all Germans were villains, they were forced to fight, etc. etc. Please note that such words appeared as soon as it became clear that Germany was defeated in the war (which it itself unleashed). But in the beginning it was pleasant for these complaining Germans to kill Russian subhumans without any particular stress ...
    But, in my opinion, the opinion on the other side of the trenches - I do not care why, how and why he came to my land. He came to my house with weapons in his hands, he killed my relatives and friends, and I do not care about the circumstances in connection with which he does this - he is the enemy and must be killed, I do not feel pity for the enemy - only hatred. It was they who attacked my country, and not me, it was they who fired the first shot, and not me - and for what they did - they must die without exception! There are no innocents among them!
  18. to water
    to water 25 February 2013 18: 02
    Heavy article. Harsh comments. Each of the commenting rights. A person who is deprived of loved ones, friends cannot be judged objectively. More precisely, he is objective in his truth, but this is his truth. He cannot be condemned for this, because the person himself becomes different - the war makes him different. In my opinion, the Western world and we live in different coordinate systems. We have different values, different understanding of good and evil, love and hate. We will never understand each other as long as our peoples are puppets of those in power. For example, I am enraged by the word tolerance or tolerance. Why do I have to endure something. I do not want to endure ... ras ... v. People should not tolerate each other, they should respect each other, love or hate each other for specific deeds and actions! And so that the lot of the Russian people (I mean all nationalities living in the Russian Federation) does not have so much grief in the future, we must all put a hand in strengthening our state and army, so that not a single pas.kuda (which preaches the theory - " Nothing personal, just business "), there was not even a thought to attack not only Russia, but a citizen of the Russian Federation, because for him there would be inevitability of punishment. This is what I wanted to say.