Saturday, December 19, 2009

Last Letters From Stalingrad: #15

...'If there is a God,' you wrote me in your last letter, 'then He will bring you back to me soon and healthy;' you went on: 'a human being like you, who likes animals and flowers and does no harm to anyone, who loves and adores his wife and child, will always have God's protection.'
I thank you for these words, and I always carry this letter with me in my brustbeutel. But, dearest, if your words are weighed now and you make the existence of God dependent upon them, you will have to make a difficult and great decision. I am a religious man, you always were a believer, but this will have to change now if we accept the consequences of the conviction which we held to now, because something has happened which has overthrown everything in which we believed.  I am searching for words to tell you. Or have you guessed already?  I find a rather strange tone in your last letter of December 8. Now it is the middle of January.
This will be my last letter for a long time, perhaps forever.  It will be taken along by a friend who has to go to the airfield, because it is said that tomorrow the last plane will fly out of the pocket.  The situation has become untenable.  The Russians are within three kilometers of our last airfield, and once this is lost, not a mouse will get out, not to mention me.  Of course, hundreds of thousands won't get out either.  But it is small comfort to have shared your own destruction with others. 
'If there is a God.'  Over there on the other side many ask the same question, perhaps millions in England and France.  I don't believe any longer that God can be good, for then he would not permit such great injustice.  I don't believe in it anymore, for he would have enlightened the minds of those people who began this war and always talked of peace and the Almighty in three languages.  I don't believe in God anymore, because he betrayed us.  I don't believe any more, and you must see how you can come to terms with your faith. 
This letter is read aloud here.


  1. This is a great project and very interesting reading.

    Keep up the great work. I read every post and I must say I am fascinated.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Troop. I'm going to post a few more Last Letters From Stalingrad and also a special audio recording I made in the 80's of a local Madison radio personality reading and commenting. He does a good job setting the mood and gives a historical background for the letters. it's very moving. I successfully converted the cassette recording to digital MP3 file- now I just need to figure out how to upload it. I think I'll ask my 11 year old for help-LOL!

    I haven't dropped the project of publishing my father's letters-it's just that the next one he wrote in the series was post Christmas 1952 and I sort of want to wait a week or two. I'm also trying to locate some photos that go with the story but I think that my brother has them.

  3. This one is especially sad, how can one keep their faith in such circumstances? I wonder how his wife reconciled her belief that he would be spared because of her faith, when he didn't come home?

  4. She never got his letter so she never learned of his loss of faith. Perhaps she later learned that many had lost their faith and perhaps "caused" a lapse in her imagined protection.