Schmorell – Oath of Allegiance

When I joined the German army in 1937 (I volunteered), I swore the oath of allegiance to the Führer. However, I freely admit that even then, I had inhibitions about so doing, but I attributed them to unfamiliar military life. I hoped I would develop another mindset in the ensuing time. But I was wrong, because in only a short time I sank into such inner conflict [Note 1], whenever I considered that on the one hand I was wearing a German uniform, and on the other hand that I cared about Russia. At that time, I did not believe that there would ever be war with Russia.

To bring an end to my inner conflict, I turned to my commanding officer (I had been a German soldier for about 4 weeks), First Lieutenant von Lancelle, and reported to him what stirred my heart. This conversation took place in the barracks of Artillery VII in the presence of Battery Commander Captain Mayer, Lieutenant Scheller, and Master Sergeant (I cannot remember his name). I had no success with the public announcement of my political sentiments and my request for discharge from the army. They attributed my request to my formative years or even to a nervous breakdown.

For clarification, my then-C.O. brought my father in for advice. He later told me that as a German, my father was insulted by my attitude toward Russia. My father told me this himself very clearly recently, so that we have had petty arguments about it.

After my request for discharge was unsuccessful in 1937, I unwillingly continued to wear the uniform of the German soldier. But I did not try to recruit my comrades for Russia. I occupied myself with Russian literature, and I must say that I learned a lot about the Russian people [Volk], which because of my love for this people could only appear agreeable.

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Note 1: Gewissenskonflikt, battle of the conscience.

Date is estimate (about four weeks after enlistment).

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Source: Schmorell’s initial interrogation.

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