29. Juni 1941
|GEO & MIL INFO|
In Grodek we experience the first enemy shellfire. The Reds shoot at the tower of the village church, which is about 500 metres away. The shells hiss and whistle, fly over our heads with a gentle hiss and explode in a small cloud of smoke about 400 metres behind our quarters. Next to me is a young lieutenant. He is pale, and in his face there's trembling fear. I don't know what kind of face I've made, but I'm certainly not afraid. After all, I am impressed. For the first time I experiencing war, deadly war. It speaks loudly and clearly. These shells are more forceful than all moral admonitions. They taken men abruptly to the edge of life and raise the question of the meaning of life and death. It is astounding how a single shell landing can bring about profound changes in senses and suddenly make the meaning and value of life appear in a completely different light. When war brings people to self-contemplation, to good intentions or even to prayer, then there has to be a little good about it.
Later, when battles and close combat were part of our daily routine, I had to smile about these first harmless shells, but they had done their work at that time, although many good intentions were forgotten again, as so often in life.
Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels announces on the radio: "The Russian colossus lies smashed on the ground and will never rise again!" We look at each other in amazement, and then a mocking laugh passes through the ranks of the company. We are convinced that we will win, but it won't happen that quickly. Either the poison dwarf is lying again, or he really has no idea of the situation. Major Haarhaus also said recently that the campaign would be over in six weeks. Well, the six weeks are long gone... But I myself am beginning to doubt our victory. The godless Reich leadership has turned away from God with holier-than-thou hubris. It is the hereditary sin of mankind that drove Adam out of paradise and that also overthrew Beelzebub: accursed arrogance. They wanted to be like God themselves. Many things were symptomatic: the slogan "Gott mit uns" (God with us) disappeared from our belt buckles. At the harvest festival in Bückeburg, people did not thank the Lord for the good harvest, but Hitler. In southern Germany, the suggestion was made to create a 'Hitler corner' in the front room instead of the Lord's corner. And when Churchill and Roosevelt were mocked during the war because they publicly prayed for victory, when Göbbels, that little man, proclaimed in a speech: "Do not praise Jesus Christ, but what makes hard!" then I suspected that we will lose the war. God does not let people mock him, and pride comes before the fall. Even if God's mills grind slowly.
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- He may be referring to Hitler's Sportpalast speech of 3 Nov 1941 (minute 28:15) or a later citation by Goebbels.
- This remark shows that parts the paragraph have to be dated to August or later.
- Mistake: the inscription remained; the Waffen-SS, however, received belt locks without this inscription.
- in the original: Schrumpfgermane, shrunken Teuton