Effects of Russian front on Alexander Schmorell

My love for the Russian people was only heightened by my tour of duty on the Eastern Front in Summer 1942, because I saw with my own eyes, that the characteristics and the character of the Russian people had not been changed greatly by Bolshevism. Under these circumstances, perhaps it will even be understandable that the state of war between the Russian and German people pained me deeply and made me wish that Russia could emerge from this war with negligible losses.

During my service on the Eastern Front in the summer of 1942, I was never put into a situation where my attitude toward Russia could have possibly been detrimental to Germany’s interests. If as a soldier I had had to take up arms against the Bolshevists, before carrying out such an order, I would have had to advise my military C.O. that I could not do so. In my position as a medical officer, I was spared such an order.

When I occasionally heard this and that through German propaganda about Russian subhumans, I was never convinced by it. Rather I imagined that there would be exceptions among Russian soldiers, as there are everywhere.

At Field Hospital “Blankenhorn” [sic], I talked with a Russian officer now and then. He told me that German successes were primarily attributable to the treason of Russian generals. I also heard this opinion out of the mouths of Bolshevist prisoners.

Although I was bolstered in my love for Russia through my service on the front, in no way did I pursue the idea of doing anything to affect the duration or outcome of this war after I returned to Germany.

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Date of October 31, 1942 is estimate, chosen because it was the end of Alexander Schmorell’s tour of duty on the Russian front. The attitudes above reflected the impact that “Russia” had on him that summer.-Ed.

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Source: Schmorell’s initial interrogation.

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