23. August 1941
|OKW position map 1941/September|
Now we are moved to Nowo Georgievsk, where the whole Führerreserve is gathering. The little town is a bit north of the village just abandoned, still opposite Kremenchuk, but a bit more north. It lies on the west side of the Dnieper valley on a branch of this mighty river. Novo Georgievsk is a typical Russian small town. The main street has cobblestones, all other streets are unpaved, usually have a row of trees on both sides of the street and a footpath. The houses are almost all built of wood and usually consist of a ground floor and an upper floor.But three-storey houses are not uncommon either. Many still have a front garden with a fence, others stand directly at the " pavement ". Behind the houses there are usually gardens. Out of this mass of wooden houses, only a few stone buildings stand out, made of red brick or with grey plaster. They are almost always public buildings, party or cultural buildings, schools or factories. The two-storey wooden houses often have an external staircase leading to the upper floor.
We are lying with six men in the small wooden house, which is occupied by a Russian couple. It is very hard for them. Not only because of the confinement of the room, but also because we simply fetch tomatoes and potatoes from their garden as additional food. They don't have too much to eat themselves, but I guess we didn't really think about that.
The population in the villages and towns that lie along the advance roads are always particularly hard hit, because here one unit follows another, and where they pass through or settle, they are like swarms of locusts that strip everything bare.
The owner of our accommodation works for the German civil administration and has to walk long distances on their behalf because he has to go overland. He whiningly shows us his worn shoes and complains that they don't give him new ones. We bathe in the Dnieper branch that flows nearby. Its banks are covered with grass and willow bushes. Apart from us, some children and an old man are bathing.
I am walking down the street in the evening and suddenly I hear soft music. It is a very ingratiating melody and I stop to ascertain the origin of the sounds. Then I see a heavy black car parked in a doorway. I step closer and realise that it is flying a general's command pennant. The music is coming from inside the car. I stick my head through the open side window and listen to the song coming from the radio: “Vor der Kaserne, vor dem großen Tor...” (Outside the barracks, by the corner light...) I hear this touching, tender, unforgettable melody for the first time and fall for it, as do millions of German Landser.
One of our six parlour mates is lucky that his unit is nearby. He is often a guest there and always takes sugar with him. This gives us the most important ingredient for the potato pancakes we often bake.
One morning I feel an itch in my pubic hair that won't stop. I go out to the garden terrace to have a look. I find several lice! My first body lice. I won't get rid of them until the end of the war.
We spend 14 days in Novo Georgievsk. The army command needed this time for tactical preparations for the Dnieper crossing. Officially, this was called a “tactical pause in the advance”. The Soviet troops had retreated to behind the Dnieper during their disengagement movements. Now they are on the other side of the wide river in reinforced defensive positions. The important city of Kremenchuk is on the east bank, so it is in Russian hands. The large bridge that leads across the river to the city has been blown up.
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- On the night 23/24, I.R. 466 passed through Rewowka (KTB 257. I.D., NARA T-315 Roll 1803 Frame 000639); since the author did not witness any troop movements there (cf. 21 Aug 41), he was already in Novo Georgiewsk on the 23rd.
- At the southeast entrance Novo Georgievsk was the division command post (KTB 257th I.D. Frame 000635) since the 22nd; today the place is flooded, cf. map.
- The author wrote down the lyrics of the song; today it can be found on the internet. English version.