No pity for the Germans suffering in the cold

German pictures of the Wehrmacht on the Eastern front gave little indication of the the terrible state many of their troops were in.

In eastern Poland Dr Zygmunt Klukowski was quietly monitoring the Germans' situation, he believed he had grounds for optimism.

31st December 1941

Tomorrow we will start a new year. We all believe that this will be the last year of the war. From all fronts we receive news of German retreats. The winter this year is very fierce. There is much snow and freezing conditions are making motorized units practically immobile.

We watch as military ambulances and trains go west, loaded with wounded and frostbitten soldiers. Most frostbite occurs on hands, feet, ears, noses, and genitals. You can judge the desperation of the German military situation by the fact that Hitler has taken direct responsibility for all military action in Russia.

We have noticed disorganization in the German administration. For example, in the county offices you cannot solve any problem at all because the employees think only about their own future and make decisions based on the future.

Here in Szczebrzeszyn there is new action against the Jews. On December 26 it was announced that under penalty of death all Jews must surrender all fur coats, fur hats, fur collars, fur gloves, fur muffs, and any other clothing made of fur. Now most jews are trying to hide all fur articles, but some are giving them away. Dr. Bolotny took to the judenrat about 12,000 zloty worth of his own and also his wife’s furs.

At anytime we expect the same for the Polish population. Some people are boiling mad, but some are happy because this fur business shows that the Germans are suffering. The temperature is very low. We lack fuel and people are freezing, but everyone hopes for an even colder winter, because it will help defeat the Germans.

See Klukowski: Diary from the Years of Occupation

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