German soldiers in occupied Russia (Soviet Union) during the Second World War

The soldiers of the German army which occupied the Soviet Union (Russia, Ukraine, Georgia) were not blood-sucking monsters. They were human too. The pictures below bring out their human side. Some of the photos may have been posed for, courtesy Goebbels, but many of them are spontaneous.

The German soldiers smile at seeing the vagabond. In Ukraine.


In January 1942, the Nazis published a 60-page booklet titled German Soldiers in the Soviet Union: Letters from the East. It consisted mostly of excerpts from letters from soldiers reporting on conditions they encountered. The letters, of course, were carefully selected, but soldiers had credibility, and the booklet surely had an impact.

Staff Sergeant Kurt Hummel, Military Post Number L 31 605 Lg Pa. Paris, to his local group

Northern Russia, 12 August 1941

Bolshevist conditions are indescribable. I had never imagined that such misery was possible. People here know nothing about electric lights, radio, newspapers and the like. One can't call what they live in houses. There are only shanties with rotten straw roofs. Huge neglected fields lay around. We haven't yet found even a small shop. This is what people call the Soviet paradise. I wish the few outsiders who still remain in Germany could be shipped here. There is misery wherever one looks. One has to see it to realize how beautiful Germany is.
Posing with the elderly. Definitely propaganda.


The Main Roads are like Paths

Soldier Heinrich Stähr tells his work mates at the Hamburg Hochbahn A. G. about conditions frequently mentioned in other letters as well:

The roads. We in the infantry are probably the best judge of good and bad roads, since we have to march for kilometer after kilometer on them. Here too the Soviets haven't lifted a finger. The main roads are no better than field paths. Believe me, my dear comrades, the soldiers have had many a justifiable curse after marching 40 or 50 kilometers on such a road. Besides, it is 30-35 degrees C. in the shade, and huge clouds of dust make it almost impossible to breathe. Swamps, forests, and bad roads make military action unpleasant, but we keep moving forward.

The Wehrmacht officer is all concern for the little girl. Reminded of his daughter perhaps?


The Jew was a Bloodsucker

Medical corporal Paul Lenz, Military Post Number 7 14 628 Posen, to the local group of the NSDAP, Arneburg:

Only a Jew can be a Bolshevist; for these bloodsuckers there is nothing better to be, for there is then nothing to stop them. Wherever one spits there is a Jew, whether in a city or a village. As far as I know (we asked the people, wanting to know the truth) not a single Jew every worked in the workers' paradise. Even the littlest bloodsucker had a post with big privileges. He lived in the best buildings, if one can call them buildings. The real workers lived in small buildings, or better, in animal stalls, just like day laborers in old Russia. It makes no difference whether one is in a village or in a city like Minsk with over 300,000 inhabitants, the stalls are everywhere. Even before the war, most workers knew nothing but hunger, misery and slavery. Some may be interested to know that there were theaters, operas, etc., even big buildings for them, but only those with money got in, and they were the blood suckers and their lackeys.
Fixing a date for the night, perhaps?


Every Critic of our Efforts should be Sent Here

Soldier Walter Sperath writes to the [NSDAP] county office Hamburg 6

Everything I have seen of the so-called workers' paradise is everything but lovely. One should send every citizen who even slightly criticizes our efforts here. He would thank the Führer and the movement that these conditions are not found in our Fatherland. Animals by us live in better conditions than the people here. Our successes so far have been great, and we will not stop until we have rooted out this evil root and branch, which will be a blessing for European culture and humanity.
With such a beautiful lady any Wehrmacht officer would gladly pose with.


The Soviet Union is Absolutely Miserable

Flyer W. M., Res.-Lazarett Salzlwedel to his Cell Leader Schroeder

I have seen the "wonderful workers' paradise" in the Soviet Union with all its terrible misery, and wish that those who thought differently could spend a few weeks here to see and experience what we have. The misery and horror of Bolshevism is terrible.

I hope that volunteering for our proud army may atone for my earlier sins, and that when I am back home, you, dear party member, will accept me as an honest person. In that hope, I send you my warmest greetings.

Heil Hitler!

signed W. M.
This soldier is playing with the little girl as the mother frowns in the background. I hope he was not a pervert.


Earlier Fans of the Soviet Union are Quickly Cured

Corporal Otto Kien, Military Post Number 18, 756, to the Factory Leadership t the Conrad Scholtz Factory. Barmbeck

Russia, 8 August 1941

Anyone who earlier had different opinions of the Soviet Union is quickly cured of them here. The poverty is terrible. Not even the farmers have anything to eat. They beg from us. There are lice and filth everywhere. One has to be careful one doesn't get them from the inhabitants.

These people don't know anything else. They sit in their huts and remove lice from each other. They don't mind if anyone watches. I've had my fill of this workers' paradise. We'll be glad to be out of here. In the past we saw pictures of malnourished children. They were not exaggerated. One can't believe it if one hasn't been here.

The warriors listen gravely as the local women tell them their problem.


Worse than we Imagined

Corporal J. F., Military Post Number 26,280 to his Local Group

In the Field, 3.8.41

What we have seen of the so-called Soviet paradise is worse than we ever imagined. Anyone back home who still has any doubts should come here. All his doubts will disappear. Everywhere we go, the people are happy to be freed from Bolshevism, and looks to the future with confidence. We soldiers can say to those back home that he [Hitler] saved Germany and all of Europe from the Red Army. The battle is hard, but we know what we are fighting for, and, confident of the Führer, we will win. In the hopes of a victorious return,

Heil Hitler
Corporal J. F.

This man would make Goebbels proud.

The Nazification of the Church in Russia


This soldier is all friendly with the locals. Hardly seems like that there is a war going on.

He likes the old man. Reminded him of his old man?
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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito