"August 23 airstrike … dust covered everything, and she crawled out of the German tanks … There was just dust everywhere and not a drop of water …" — leads the Tages Anzeiger Hellbeka quote from the book "Stalingrad Protocols" ("Die Stalingrad Protokolle") — Memoirs of the 1st of fighter, catch the very beginning of a six-month siege of the town.
Messy, but clearly outline the defenders of Stalingrad and the Battle of the actual ending January 31, 1943. The Red Army stood at the entrance to the basement, where hiding senior officers of the German Staff, headed by the commander of the 6th Army, Friedrich Paulus. Lieutenant Leonid Vinokur was the first to see the creator of the plan "Barbarossa". "He was lying on the bed. Dressed in a coat on the head — cap. Seemed that he had lost any remnants of Valor" — results in Der Spiegel quote from the book. The last refuge of Field Marshal, according to the memoirs of witnesses, looked miserable, "mucky, human poop and who knows what else … The stench is horrible. There were two restrooms, and above each hung a sign:" Russian Trespassing ".
Paulus and other occupied prisoner officers had the opportunity to shoot and yet to surrender, but until recently had hoped to survive. "Their ideas and not be fired — that's such cowards. They have not had the heart to die," — said Major General Ivan Burmakov.
Only 300 deserters
For writing "Stalingrad Protocols" Hellbek used archives and interviews interview individual participants on both sides of the battle — the documents he found both in German and in Russian institutes. Then some of them have led to the historian now heartily working veterans who 70 years later once again reminded of his experiences. Exit the book was timed to the anniversary of the battle and almost coincided with the operation "Uranus", during which the November 19, 1942 Russian troops fled to the coming of Stalingrad.
Creator of the book managed to debunk one of the legends of the Red davneshnih army into battle de fighters were, for fear of being shot for timidity. The highest measure used in Stalingrad, historian acknowledges, but not too far in the quantities, which tended to be read: instead of 13 thousand executed for "desertion" he found documents only 300 such cases. Russian soldiers went into battle, not least thanks to the competent ideological work.
On the Stalingrad front in the second half of 1942, the number of members of the CPSU grown by almost half. Political workers actually conducted a competition for the most daring: the trenches leaflets about the heroes of day or, appropriate notification is sent to parents of soldiers. "Fighter month sits in a trench. Does not see anything, except such as their own neighbors, and suddenly approaches him commissioner. Utter a good word, greets. It was so important, "- said the battalion commissar Peter Molchanov.
"It seemed the earth itself was breathing fire"
But the main driver for the Red Army was hatred of the enemy, whose atrocities soldiers and officers at that time managed to see a lot. According to the veterans, before the war to the Germans treated with reverence felt by representatives of cultural civilization. But the fact that the soldiers have seen in the ruined villages and towns, plunged into shock. The Nazis plundered all, it came in their nature, they do not hesitate to admit it at the interrogations, remember veterans.
"The skin on his arm was torn off together with nails — are contained in the book Memoirs of Major Peter Zaionchkovskii about how he found his own dead comrade. — The eyes were burned up, there was a wound on his temple from the red-hot iron. Right side of her face was doused with fuel and burned" .
"And you see how the trees are hanging body beautiful girls, and children. Effect of this …" — recalled sniper 62nd Army Stalingrad Front, Hero of Russian Union Vasily Zaitsev. But, he said, even a similar ruthlessness can not force people not to feel remorse for the murder, even if the enemy. "I have since that time been at odds with the nerves. Constantly shakes" — confessed Germans had shot 242 Zaitsev, whose memoirs are also included in the "Stalingrad protocols." "5 months in Stalingrad were like 5 years — leading historian Hellbek words of Captain Nikolai Aksenov. — It seemed the earth itself was breathing fire."
"There were veterans who wept during the interview, lamented his own comrades and relatives. Memoirs were very colorful. For example, the retreat of the river Oskol and Don in the summer of 1942 they recalled with neugasshimi fear and suffering, their feelings since we came to life in the sight — said Hellbek Radio "Liberty" in the process of working on a book. — On the Russian side, we beheld and pride in what they did. As for the Germans, it was a sense of emptiness and futility of war. appears in them a sense of shame. "