January 31, 1943, Beketovka, near Stalingrad. Captured German generals before meeting with commander of the 64th Soviet Army general N. Shumilov. From right to left: Friedrich Paulus, General-Feldmarshal, commanding general of 6th Army, Arthur Schmidt, General-lieutenant, Chief of the 6th Army Staff; Wilhelm Adam, Colonel, Adjutant for Gen. Paulus
Report of the Special Section of the Don Front NKVD (People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs) to Special Sections Department of NKVD USSR, about conversations of F. Paulus, A. Schmidt and others.
February, 3rd, 1943
To Deputy of the National Commissioner of Internal Affairs of the USSR, Commissioner of State Security Third Rank, comrade Abakumov.
According your order, I placed agents on the premises, occupied by captured German generals.
With Paulus and Schmidt I placed an agent of counter-intelligence department, junior lieutenant of the state security, comrade Tarabrin, who speaks German language well, and our representative Nesterov.
Tarabrin's task was to write down all discussions of German POWs, not revealing his knowledge of German language, and present his notes in the diary form (below).
POWs mood is gloomy. They speak very little.
In another group of generals (Daniels, Drebber and others) mood is more vigorous, however Drebber, in conversation with Pik, instructor of 7th section of Political Department of the Red Army, declared, that “some generals think about committing suicide”.
All above-mentioned was reported to the representative of the Stavka, Marshal of Artillery Voronov, and to the member of the Military Council, General-Major Telegin.
According comrade Voronov's instruction, all cutting-pricking items were removed.
Don Front HQ. From left to right: General K. Rokossovsky, Marshal of Artillery N. Voronov, translator captain Diatlenko, and Field Marshal Paulus, who was taken prisoner by the troops of 64th army under General N. Shumilov.
January, 31st, 1943
I received an order to stay with POW German generals. My knowledge of German language should not be revealed.
At 21:20 p.m. as a representative of the Front HQ I arrived to my destination, one of the houses in Zavarygino village. [near HQ Don Front - AWW]
I was protected by guards on the street, senior lieutenant Levonenko from a commandant's office at HQ and agent of our 7th department Nesterov.
“When can we expect dinner?” That was the first phrase I heard in German when I entered the house in which the following German generals, taken in captivity on January, 31st, 1943, were placed: commanding general of the 6th German army General Field Marshal Paulus, his chief of staff General-Lieutenant Schmidt and aide-de-camp Colonel Adam.
It was Schmidt who asked about dinner. He always showed great anxiety about his personal items and carefully packed all cigars, which were not finished, into pieces of paper and put them in his pocket.
Paulus is a tall man, his height is about 6.4". He is skinny, with hollow cheeks, humpbacked nose and thin lips. His left eye always twitches.
HQ Commandant, who accompanied me, colonel Yakimovich, through the translator of reconnaissance section Bezimensky, politely suggested to give him all pocket knifes, razors and other cutting items.
Not uttering a word, Paulus calmly took out two penknives of his pocket and put them on the table.
Translator looked at Schmidt. General's face first turned pale, then blood rushed to his face, he took out a small white penknife from his pocket, threw it on a table and then started to shout in a shrill, unpleasant voice: "Do you think that we are regular soldiers? Field marshal is here, he commands different kind of attitude to himself. This is unacceptable! We were promised different conditions, we are here as guests of General-Colonel Rokossovsky and Marshal Voronov!"
“Calm down, Schmidt, Paulus told him, "so this is the procedure".
“Doesn't matter. What procedure, if they deal with field marshal?” He grabbed his knife from the table and put it into his pocket.
Yakimovich called Malinin [Chief of Don Front HQ - AWW] and after several minutes of phone conversation, this incident was settled and knives were returned to the Germans.
Dinner was served. For 15 minutes there was a silence, interrupted by phrases: “Can you pass a fork; More tea, please”, etc.
Generals lit up cigars. “And the dinner was good", noted Paulus. “In Russia they cook not too bad”, Schmidt answered.
After a while Paulus was summoned for the interrogation. "Are you going alone?", asked Schmidt. "And what about me?"
“They summoned only me”, Paulus answered calmly.
“I will not sleep, until he returns”, Adam declared. He lit new cigar and laid down in boots on a bed. Schmidt followed his example.
After approximately one hour, Paulus came back.
“Well, how was the marshal?”, Schmidt asked.
“Marshal was a marshal”.
“What did you discuss?”
"They suggested me to order surrender to the remaining units. I refused”.
“What happened next?”
“I asked them to take care of our wounded men. They told me that our doctors ran away and now Russians themselves shall take care of our wounded."
After a while Paulus noticed: “Do you remember that NKVD guy with three medals who accompanied us? What a terrible eyes! ”
Adam answered: “Everything is terrible in NKVD”.
On this conversation was finished. Generals began to prepare for a sleep.
Paulus orderly was still absent, so Field Marshal removed cover from the bed, put his own two blankets on top, undressed and laid down.
Schmidt took out everything from his bed, carefully examined bed sheets with his pocket flashlight (they were new, absolutely clean), fastidiously frowned, covered the bed with the blanket, and said: "Let the bugs pleasure begin". He put his blanket on top, laid down, covered himself with one more blanket and said in a sharp tone “Put out the light, will yah?” Nobody in the room could understand him and nobody paid attention. Then he sat down in his bed and started to explain by gestures what he needs. Lamp was wrapped in a newspaper.
“I am wandering, how long they will let us sleep tomorrow?”, Paulus asked.
“I will sleep until they wake me up”, Schmidt answered.
Night passed uneventfully, not mentioning that Schmidt several times asked not to shake his bed. Nobody did anything to his bed, he just had bad dreams.
February 1st, 1943
Morning. Generals have a shave. Schmidt looked in a mirror and categorically declared: “It's so cold, I'll leave a beard”.
“This is up to you, Schmidt ”, Paulus noticed.
Colonel Adam, who was in the next room said through his teeth: “This is his next originality”.
After a breakfast, generals recollected yesterday's dinner with the commander of 64th Army.
“Have you noticed, what amazing vodka they served?”, Paulus said.
For a long time all were silent. Soldiers brought "Red Army" newspaper with “In the last hour” news release. Excitement. They were interested if their names were mentioned. After they heard all names in the list, they studied the newspaper for a while and then wrote their names in Russian letters on a piece of paper. They were especially interested in trophies numbers. They noticed number of tanks. “This figure is not correct, we had no more than 150”, Paulus noticed. “Probably they counted also tanks, which we captured from them. All the same it's too many". For some time they were silent again.
“And he, apparently, shot himself”, - said Schmidt (about a general in the list).
Adam frowned his brows and stared down in the floor: “Hard to say, what's better. What if going to captivity is our mistake?
Paulus: “We'll see”.
Schmidt: “All history of these four months one can describe with this phrase: "One can do no more than one can”.
Adam: “They [in Germany - AWW] will think that we’ve gone”.
Paulus (in French); “À la guerre comme à la guerre”.
Again they looked at the numbers. They noticed the total number of POWs. Paulus said: “This number is probable, in fact we knew nothing”. Schmidt attempts to explain it to me, draws a front line, breakthrough, envelopment, telling me: “A lot of supply columns, other units, we did not know exactly how many”.
For a half an hour they were silent, smoking cigars.
Schmidt: “In Germany the crisis of a military leadership can be possible”.
Schmidt: “They [Russians - AWW], possibly, will continue offensive up to the middle of March”.
Paulus: “Perhaps, even longer”.
Schmidt: "Would they stop offensive on the former borders?”.
Paulus: “All this will enter the military history, as a brilliant example of enemy's operational art”.
At dinner they continuously praised each dish. Adam, who is eating more than everybody else, praised it the most. Paulus left half of the food on the plate and gave it to the orderly.
After dinner orderly tries to explain to Nesterov that he needs his penknife back, which remained with their staff doctor. Paulus told me, supplementing his words with gestures: "This knife is field marshal Reichenau memorabilia. Hain was his orderly before he became mine. He was with field marshal in his last minutes”. Conversation again stopped. Generals went to bed.
Dinner. Among other dishes on a table, coffee cookies were served.
Schmidt: “Good cookies, is it French?”.
Adam: “Very good, indeed. Dutch, in my opinion”.
Generals took glasses and examined cookies.
Adam was surprised: “Look, it's Russian”.
Paulus: “Stop examine this. It's embarrassing”.
Schmidt: “Pay attention, each time there are new waitresses”.
Adam: “They are pretty”.
All rest of evening they silently smoked. Orderly prepared beds and went to bed. Schmidt did not shout at night.
Morning. Adam took a shaving kit. “We shall have a shave every day, look should be decent”.
Paulus: “Exactly. I'll have a shave after you”. After a breakfast they smoke cigars. Paulus looked out of the window. “Look at this: Russian soldiers are watching us, they are interested what German field marshal looks like, and he differs from others captured by only signs of his rank”.
Schmidt: “Have you noticed, how we are guarded? It is a lot of people, but you don't feel yourself as in a prison. As I recall, when captured Russian generals were kept with the staff of field marshal Bush, they lived in the room, guards were outside and only colonel could enter."
Paulus: “It's better here. it's good, that you don't feel like in prison, but it still prison”.
Mood is little bit gloomy. They speak a little, smoke much, and think. Adam took out photos of his wife and kids, browsing it together with Paulus.
Schmidt and Adam are respectful to Paulus, especially Adam.
Schmidt is buttoned up and egoistic. He tries not to smoke his own cigars, but prefers to borrow somebody's else.
In the afternoon I came into other small house where captured generals Daniels, Drebber, Wultz and others were kept.
Conditions and mood are very different. They laugh a lot, Daniels tells anecdotes. I could not hide my knowledge of German language, since there was a lieutenant-colonel with whom I spoke earlier.
They started to ask me, what's going on, who else was captured, etc. They learned that Paulus too was captured. They joyfully began smiling. Schmidt's name caused a loud laughter, especially from Daniels.
“Schmidt was captured, hа, hа, hа!” - he was laughing for five minutes.
Gloomy Romanian general Dumitrescu was quietly sitting in the corner. At last he asked me in broken German: “Is Popescu in captivity?”, as I understand, that was the most important question for him.
After spending couple of minutes more, I returned back to Paulus.
All three laid on their beds. Adam learned Russian, repeating loudly Russian words, which he wrote before on a piece of paper.
February, 3rd, 1943
Today at 11 o'clock in the morning I visited Paulus, Schmidt and Adam.
When I came in, they were still sleeping. Paulus woke up, and gave me a nod. Schmidt also woke up.
Schmidt: “Good morning, what dreams you dreamed?”
Paulus: “ What dreams a captured field marshal may have? Adam, have you already finished shaving? Save some hot water for me”.
Procedure of morning washing, shaving and so forth. Then breakfast and usual cigars smoking begin.
Yesterday Paulus was interrogated, he is still under impression.
Paulus: “Strange people. They were asking captured soldier about operational questions”.
Schmidt: “This is useless. Nobody will speak. This is not 1918, when they shouted, that Germany is one thing, government is another, and Army is the third. This mistake will not happen again".
Paulus: “I agree with you completely, Schmidt”.
They are silent for a long time. Schmidt lays down on the bed. He falls asleep. Paulus follows his example. Adam takes out a notebook with written down Russian words, reads through, and whispers something. Then he also goes to bed.
Suddenly Yakimovich arrives. He suggested to go to the bath. Paulus and Adam agree with joy. Schmidt (he is afraid to catch a cold), after some faltering, also agrees. Paulus decided the matter, explaining that Russian baths are very good and it's always warm in there.
All four left for a bath. Generals and Adam were in the car, Hain was placed in 1.5 tons truck, keeping up behind. They were accompanied by HQ guards.
Approximately in one and a half hour they returned back. Impression was excellent. They exchange opinions on qualities and advantages of Russian bath before others. They waited for a dinner and then planned to go to sleep.
At this time several cars approached the house. Chief of Intelligence department, General-Major Vinogradov enters the house, accompanied by his translator, who is telling Paulus that right now he is going to see all his generals, which were captured.
While translator speaks, I manage to find out from Vinogradov that he will shoot all "captured generals” for the documentary footage.
Despite of some displeasure caused by the prospect to go to the frost after a bath, everybody hastily put coats on. They will meet with other generals! They don't know anything about the shooting. But crew is already standing by. Schmidt and Paulus go outside. The first frames are shot.
Paulus: “ All this already superfluous ”.
Schmidt: “Not only superfluous, but disgraceful" (They turn faces away from the cameras).
They were given a ride in a car to the next house where they will meet with other generals. Simultaneously from other side general-colonel Heitz and others arrive.
Meeting. Operators are shooting feverishly. Paulus shakes hands with all his generals, telling everybody: Good to see you, my friends, more vivacity and decency".
February 4 1943. Paulus meets with other German generals, captured in Stalingrad. 1. Generalleutnant Alexander Edler von Daniels. 2. Generalleutnant Hans-Heinrich Sixt von Arnim. 3. Generaloberst Walter Heitz. 4. Oberst Wilhelm Adam. 5. Generalfeldmarschall Friedrich Paulus.
Shooting goes on. Generals broke into groups, talking. Conversation spins, mainly, around question who is present and who is not.
Central group includes Paulus, Heitz, Schmidt. They attract all attention of the filming crew. Paulus is calm. He looks in the camera. Schmidt is nervous, he tries to turn away. When the most active operator approached him too closely, he caustically smiled, and closed lens by hand.
Other generals don't pay attention to the shooting. But some are trying to get into the frame, moving closer to Paulus.
A colonel wandering from one group to another and repeats the same phrase: "Everything is fine, don't be nervous. Most important is that we are all alive". Nobody pays attention to him.
Shooting comes to an end. Everybody's leaving. Paulus, Schmidt and Adam returns back.
Schmidt: “To hell with this pleasure, after bath we'll certainly catch a cold. They made in on purpose, to make us sick".
Paulus: “This shooting is even worse! What a shame! Marshal Voronov most likely is not aware. What a humiliation! But nothing we can do about it, we are in captivity”.
Schmidt: “I haven't digested German journalists, and now Russian journalists are there! Disgusting!”.
Conversation is interrupted by lunch. They eat and compliment the cooking. The mood rises. After lunch they slept almost until dinner, which is praised again. They smoke cigars, silently watching rings of smoke.
In the next room something fragile falls on the floor. Hain has broken a sugar bowl.
Paulus: "It's Hain. What a bear cub!”.
Schmidt: “All falls from his hands. It's interesting, how he managed to drive. Hain? Have you ever lost control of a car?”
Hain: “No, sir. Back then I was in other mood ”.
Schmidt: “Mood is mood, bowl is a bowl, especially if it's not yours”.
Paulus: “He was the favorite of field marshal Reichenau. He died on Hain's hands”.
Schmidt: “By the way, how he died?”.
Paulus: “From heart attack after a hunt and hunting breakfast. Hain, tell us more”.
Hain: “Well, on that day field marshal and myself went hunting. He was in excellent spirits and felt himself very good. He had breakfast. I served coffee. At this moment he got heart attack. Staff doctor declared that he must be transported to the professor of medicine in Leipzig. Transport airplane was arranged quickly. We took off with field marshal on board, myself, doctor and pilot and set course on Lvov.
Field marshal's condition became worse and worse. After an hour in the air he died.
In this flight we were pursued by bad luck. When we reached Lvov, pilot was going to land, but took off again. We made two more circles above the airfield. When he was landing at the second time, he disregarded all common rules and tried to land downwind. As a result we ran into one of the airfield buildings. I was the only one who was able to walk away from the landing unharmed.
Again there comes almost an hour-long silence. They smoke, and think. Paulus glanced up.
Paulus: “It’s interesting, what's new?”
Adam: “Likely the further Russian advance. Now they can afford it”.
Schmidt: “And what's next? All the same question! In my opinion, this war will be over even more suddenly, than it began, and its end will not be military, but political. Clearly, we cannot conquer Russia, and they cannot conquer us”.
Paulus: “But politics is not our business. We are soldiers. Marshal asked me yesterday, why we continued to resist in hopeless position, without ammunition and food. I answered him that these were my orders! Doesn't matter how desperate situation is, order is an order. We are soldiers. Discipline, order, obedience are the foundation of any army. He agreed with me. And in general, this is ridiculous, as though I could change anything.
By the way, marshal leaves fine impression. He is cultural, educated man. He knows conditions perfectly. He asked Schleffer about 29th Regiment, nobody from this regiment was captured. He remembers even such trifles”.
Schmidt: “Yes, fortune always has two sides”.
Paulus: “It's good that nobody can predict his future. If I knew, that I will be field marshal, and then go into captivity! If it was a theatrical drama, I would brand it as nonsense! ”
He goes to sleep.
February 4th, 1943
Morning. Paulus and Schmidt still lay in beds. Adam enters the room. He has already shaved, dressed up and looks smartly. He stretches out left hand and speaks: “Hail!”.
Paulus: “Recollecting the Roman greeting, it means, that you, Adam, have nothing against me. You do not have a weapon”.
Adam and Schmidt laugh.
Schmidt: “In Latin it sounds - "morituri te salutant" (those who are about to die, salute you)”.
Paulus: “Just as we do”.
He takes out a cigarette, smokes.
Schmidt: “Do not smoke before the meal, it is harmful”.
Paulus: “It's OK, captivity is even more harmful”.
Schmidt: “It is necessary to be patient”.
They get up. Morning routine, breakfast.
Then major Ozeryansky from Intelligence department coming in to pick up Schmidt for interrogation.
Schmidt: “At last they became interested also in myself" (he has been a little bit wounded, that he wasn't called earlier.
Schmidt leaves. Paulus and Adam lay down. They smoke, then sleep. Then they wait for a dinner. After couple of hours Schmidt comes back.
Schmidt: “All the same: why you resisted, why didn't you agree to capitulate, etc. It was very difficult to speak, because of the bad translation. She didn't understand me, and I didn't understand her questions.
And then they asked about my estimation of Russian operational art comparing to ours. I, certainly, refused to answer, and declared, that is a question which can damage my fatherland. Any conversation on this theme is possible only after the war”.
Paulus: “It's true, I answered the same way”.
Schmidt: "In general all this already became boring. How they cannot understand, that any German officer will not go against the fatherland”.
Paulus: “And this is simply embarrassing to ask us, soldiers, such questions. Now nobody will answer these questions”.
Schmidt: “And all this propaganda tricks: not against the fatherland, but for the fatherland and against the government, etc. I already noticed, that only camels of 1918 tried to separate German government and German people”.
Paulus: “Propaganda remains propaganda! They cannot invent anything decent”.
Schmidt: “Is objective interpretation of history possible, in general? Certainly not. Let's consider a question about the beginning of this war. Who started it? Who is guilty? Why? Who can answer?”
Adam: “Only archives can tell you, after many years”.
Paulus: "Soldiers were and will remain soldiers. They fight, carrying out the duty, not thinking about the reasons, true to their military oath. And the beginning and the end of war is the business of politicians, to whom situation at the front dictate these or other decisions”.
Conversation moves on to the history of Greece, Rome, etc. They speak about painting and archeology. Adam tells about his participation in archeological expeditions. Schmidt, speaking about painting, authoritatively declares, that German painting is the first in the world and the best German artist is... Rembrandt (?!), presumably because Netherlands, Holland and Flanders are "old" German provinces.
So they proceeded until dinner after that they go to bed.
In the morning on February 5th I received an order to return back to the Special Section, in connection with our transfer. My stay with the generals is over.
Entries January 31 - Feb 2 1943: Central Archive, Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. 14-5-173. P 178 (original), p. 179-181 (signed copy).
Feb 3 - Feb 5, 1943. Presidential Archive, Russian Federation. 52-1-134, pages 28-33 (copy)
ORDER TO CONTINUE RESISTANCE
January 9, 1943
(To be announce in all units down to the company's level)
Recently Russians were undertaking numerous attempts to start negotiations with Army command or with command of subordinate divisions.
It's clear, what they want.
They want to breake our will to resist by various promises and assurances.
We all know what will be waiting us, if we lay down our weapons.
Most of us will die either from enemy's bullet, or from famine and suffering in the dreadful Siberian captivity.
Only this is clear: those who will surrender, never will see their relatives again.
We have only one option left: to fight till the last cartridge, despite of cold and hunger.
All offers were rejected, and truce envoys were fended off by fire.
And we shall firmly continue the fight we started, until it has guidance.
Source: Central Archive of the FSB, Russian Federation, 14-5-173, p. 173 (original)
HOW PAULUS WAS CAPTURED
by Feodor Ilchenko
"No special group with a mission to capture Paulus ever existed. Moreover, I shall tell you frankly, our command did not know, whether Paulus was still in the Stalingrad "pocket" or he was already flown out. As I learned from the memoirs of Air Marshal S. Rudenko, commanding general of the 16th Air Army at that time, he was reprimanded for the supposed failure of his pilots, who hadn't intercepted Paulus and allowed him to slip away from the pocket.
We found out where Paulus HQ was only by chance. Shortly before capitulation we met among other captured Germans an ober-lieutenant, former translator with the staff of the German Army Corps. He fluently spoke Russian, Romanian, Polish, but what was the most valuable, he knew many German officers personally. His name was Felix Frike. He showed willingness to cooperate and was kept in the brigade HQ, even though special section people always eyed him with suspicion. Once, when we found makeshift German hospital in the ruins, he identified among emaciated wounded soldiers several officers, wearing soldiers uniform. They told us that all orders for the German South Group originated from the cellar warehouse of a department store, located on the Square of the Fallen Fighters (Germans called it Schönesplatz).
By the evening on January 30th, after Germans were cleared from the adjacent buildings, units of our 38th motorized brigade took positions on the south side of the square, but attack was postponed until the morning hours because of our exhaustion.
At that time, quite unexpectedly, we received a message from the frontline that someone from German positions near department store submits signals using a flashlight and shouts that he wishes to meet the Soviet truce envoys. After discussion, we decided to go and meet him, ordering our soldiers not to open fire. But our mission soon was aborted, before it really begun. We walked barely 20 meters from our positions when Germans opened small-arms fire. We got to come back. With the "educational purpose" in return we opened mortar fire on German positions. Bombardment continued for around 20 minutes. When the dust and smoke settled, German with the flashlight again started to submit signals. We decided to repeat our attempt to open negotiations. This time captains Morozov, Rybak and Grischenko, senior lieutenants Kokorev, Mezhirko and myself, accompanied by several submachine gunners, reached department store building without any adventures. There we met German captain. Later it turned out that he was Paulus's translator Boris von Neidhard. He informed us, that command of the surrounded South Group wishes to negotiate truce with representatives of the Russian command. I answered, that we should see personally, who is going to negotiate from the German side, and check if this person was authorized to conduct negotiations. German translator agreed to lead us to the cellar of the department store, but warned that there is a minefield in front of the building. He showed us the passage through the minefield. Metal door to the cellar opened. Before the war there was a warehouse of children's toys department, and we saw on both sides of the pass so wide, that one could drive a tank along it, a huge crowd, hundreds of German officers and soldiers. They were hiding there from constant shelling. Many of them stayed there for days never coming outside. They were dirty, wearing tattered uniform, their look was strikingly different from the soldiers of 1941. They were standing and sitting very closely to each other, so the cellar was crowded, as the subway train in rush hour. Only myself, lieutenant Mezhirko, who was brigade's communication officer, and translator were allowed to go inside. Other officers and submachine gunners were asked to wait outside until we come back.
The most important part of our mission was to find Paulus. I received an order from Colonel Burmakov, commander of our 38th brigade to make sure personally that Paulus is captured, because surrounded German Army was associated with his name.
German officer, who accompanied us, showed us the way to a big room where we met General-Major Rosske, commander of 71st infantry division, who took command of the units, surrounded in the South pocket after Paulus surrendered his command of the 6th Army. Rоsskе introduced himself and explained, that he wishes to meet with a Soviet military representative of the highest level for discussing terms of capitulation. At this moment several generals, including chief of staff of 6th German army general Schmidt, entered the room, but Paulus was nowhere to be seen. Despite Rosske excuses I continued to insist that I have to see General-Colonel Paulus in person, this pre-condition was non-negotiable, and only after that I would be able to pass German conditions to our high command. Rоsskе coldly noticed, that Friedrich Paulus had been already promoted to General Field Marshal. After some faltering, Rosske invited us to another room, it appeared that cellar had several. He removed improvised "door" made from the piece of a fabric, and we entered into a small clean room. Makeshift open-flame lamp, made from the spent gun shell stood on the big table, which was covered by a green velvet tablecloth. Beautiful accordion was placed on the sofa, near the wall. Elderly unshaven man, wearing sweater, was sitting on the bed nearby. It was Friedrich Paulus. His uniform was hanging on a chair. Paulus looked at me tiredly. Rosske and Paulus exchanged several phrases. As I understood, I was introduced to Paulus as Russian truce envoy. Paulus greeted me with a nod. We left the room together with Rosske.
We had portable radio set with us, which was left outside with other officers and submachine gunners. I used this set to transmit a message to the brigade HQ that Paulus had been captured.
Soon our officers from staff of 38th Brigade and 64th Army started to arrive to the cellar of the department store. Chief of staff of 64th army General-Major I. Laskin formally accepted capitulation of the Southern German pocket. All this happened early in the morning, January 31, 1943. Act of capitulation, written in advance by Laskin, was signed by commander of the Southern pocket, General-Major Rosske.
On February 2nd Northern Group of German forces in Stalingrad surrendered as well. German 6th Army was no more."
WALKING WITH PAULUS
by Leo Bezymensky
"On January 31st we received a message from the staff of 64th army of the Don Front which made us all excited: General Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, chief of his staff General-Lieutenant Arthur Schmidt, first aide-de-camp colonel Adam and group of staff officers were captured. After short interrogation in the staff of General Shumilov, Paulus was transported to the front HQ in the village Zavarygino, where the separate small house was already prepared for his accommodation.
I could observe how a huge German staff car with tactical marking of the German Army commanding general stopped near the house and a tall man, wearing a fur cap, left the car. At once I noticed that field marshal's face continuously twitches. This nervous tic was deforming Paulus's face and he constantly struggled.
On February 1st, 1943 it was very cold, as during all last days. Later at night on January 31st commandant of the Don Front Staff colonel Yakimovich received an order to deliver field marshal Paulus for the first interrogation. This time colonel and me took staff car and went to the small house, occupied by Paulus. When field marshal was told, that he is going to meet representatives of the Soviet command, sharp features of his face became even more pronounced. Without saying a word, Paulus began to dress up slowly.
Distance was not too large, and several minutes later we approached the house where Marshal Voronov, Stavka representative, was stationed. It’s necessary to say, that these premises were not much suitable for the reception of field marshals. It was an ordinary log hut with several rooms and very small entrance room. Voronov decided to interrogate Paulus in private, without any correspondents. Exception was made only for the Roman Carmen, famous author of documentaries. He made the only known photo of Paulus during his first interrogation.
Slowly negotiating steps, Paulus reached the porch, entered the entrance room, removed his coat and asked me: “Can you tell me, which one is Voronov and which is Rokossovsky?
Taking a peek inside, I answered that Voronov is the one sitting in the center, and Rokossovsky is on his left. Paulus nodded and entered the room. Before him were Voronov, Rokossovsky, and translator captain Dyatlenko. The room was empty and according to Voronov's order when I was standing near the curtain of the entrance door, I let Carmen to make his photo with his camera, placed above my shoulder.
Interrogation continued not for long. Voronov, who was asking questions, demanded Paulus to order surrender to the German units which continued to fight, in order to prevent unnecessary bloodshed. Paulus listened, then sighed heavily and refused to give such an order, explaining that he is POW and his orders are not legitimate for the German Army. Voronov repeated his demand, providing more detailed explanation. Paulus became more nervous, left part of his face started to twitch even more often. But when Paulus responded, Rokossovsky and Voronov received the same answer.
Then Voronov asked Paulus, what food he prefer in order not to jeopardize his health? Paulus was very surprised. He said that he doesn’t need anything special, but asking to provide aid for the wounded and sick German soldiers and officers.
Voronov told him: “The Soviet army treats captured soldiers humanely. However Soviet medical workers met with great difficulties, since German medical personnel had deserted German hospitals to the mercy of fate.”
Paulus long hesitated with the answer and then said with difficulty: “Herr General, sometimes it happens in times of war, that orders of the commanders are not going to be executed...”
After that interrogation was over. Paulus stood up, saluted to the Soviet generals, turned about face and left. He put his heavy overcoat on, and was about to go to his car, when he suddenly asked colonel Yakimovich: “Herr Colonel, could I walk on foot up to my house?”
Yakimovich answered, that it was very cold outside, and it’s better to drive. When I translated these words, I saw a strong willingness, written on field marshal’s face, to insist on his request.
“Well”, Yakimovich told him, “If you wish so”.
He reported to his superiors and request had been granted. Three of us stepped outside and silently moved along the road. Our guards followed behind in a distance. It was frosty, starlit night, absolutely silent and quiet. Snow creaked under the boots. And suddenly Paulus, turning to me, said: “You know, I haven’t seen star sky for many months”.
And not waiting a response, and perhaps not going to start conversion, he said:
“Yes, since the time, when we left Golubinskaya”.
“Oh yes ”, I said, “Indeed, your staff was stationed in Golubinskaya.”
Paulus silently nodded. Soon we approached his small house…"
Source: Bezimensky. Hitler and Stalin before the struggle. Moscow, 2000. Excerpt from Chapter 22.