Letter from a German soldier Erich Ott sent from Stalingrad.
23 August 1942:
“In the morning I was shocked at the beautiful sight: for the first time through fire and smoke I saw the Volga, calmly and majestically flowing in its banks. We have achieved the ultimate goal – Volga. But the city is still in the hands of the Russians. Why are the Russians holding on to their bank, do they really think to fight on the very edge? This is madness.”
“We had hoped that before Christmas we’ll be back to Germany, that Stalingrad is in our hands. What a great mistake! This city has turned us into the crowd of emotionless corpses! Stalingrad is hell! Russians don’t seem human, they are made of iron, they do not know fatigue, do not know fear. The sailors, in the frigid cold, go on the attack in shirts. Physically and spiritually one Russian soldier is stronger than our whole company…”
The last letter is dated January 4, 1943:
“Russian snipers and artillerymen – no doubt are the disciples of God. They wait for us day and night, and don’t miss. For 58 days we stormed a single house. Stormed in vain… None of us will return to Germany, unless a miracle will happen. And I don’t believe in miracles anymore. The time has moved to the side of the Russians.”
Translated from Russian by Kristina Rus