In Germany the general population were beginning to learn something of the war in Russia. The Newsreels reported never ending success. But a slightly different picture of unexpectedly high casualties was emerging from letters written home and those returning from the front. Marie Vassiltchikov was a Russian emigre with a Lithuanian passport, living in Berlin. Her language skills found her work with the German Foreign Ministry Information Department. She wrote to her brother in Rome:
1 July 1941
Burchard of Prussia was just here, after being sent back from the Russian front because he is a ‘royal’.
He says it is absolutely beastly. Hardly any prisoners are being taken by either side. The Russians fight and torture like criminals, not soldiers, putting up their hands and then, when the Germans come up to them, shooting them “a bout portant”; they even shoot from behind the German medical orderlies who try to help their wounded.
However they are very courageous and the fighting everywhere is very heavy. All three Clary boys are now out there, which must be ghastly for their poor parents.
Met the Wrede girls, who have just heard that their brother Eddie has been killed. He was only twenty and always so bursting with beans. In general, the losses this time are incomparably greater than during the earlier campaigns. Nevertheless the German advance is progressing well, as was to be expected . . .
The German advance through Lithuania was now complete and the newsreel of the advance was released in Berlin at the beginning of July: