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Excerpts from the diary of N.A. Sokolov

Published on Sunday, 27 December 2009 22:28
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Excerpts from the diary of N. A. Sokolov — political commissar’s assistant of 92nd Reserve Regiment.

Entry from July 27, 1942:

I arrived at the transit point at 2 o’clock. The first two things I noticed were the disabled and half-starving soldiers.

Entry from July 31, 1942:

We are anticipating an aerial bombardment. Everyone is extremely tired and aggravated. We do not have the opportunity to rest during the day. When will this war end? Yesterday during the briefing the commissar instructed us to pay close attention to the soldiers’ morale and to always be on guard, etc. I have a feeling that if I follow his orders I will be the most useless person around. To hell with this!

Entry from August 29, 1942:

Lately I have not been analyzing my deeds and so I cannot tell what my goals and aspirations are. I don’t know what I am striving for, probably nothing. Everything will perish along with my existence.

Entry from September 11, 1942:

The belief that Stalingrad will survive is gone – no one believes anymore… No, it seems that we will never come out victorious.

Entry from September 15, 1942:

Today the battery’s commissar was reading new orders for South-Western Front; it said ‛We will not give away Stalingrad“. Soldiers think just the opposite. Very few believe in victory anymore. My poor Motherland… you’ve been crippled and sent all the way to the abyss…

Entry from September 20, 1942:

Pointless activities, hard labor, limited rations drive the soldiers to the limit, even to desertion. Two more have left today. And how many of them are only looking for the right moment… Nobody believes in victory anymore. And so in fear and modesty we keep quiet.

Entry from September 21, 1942:

When am I going to get out of this cauldron of death!

Correct: secretariat’s chief OO NKVD

57th Army’s Lieutenant GB (the signature is unrecognizable)

Correct: Petrov

English translation: Dmitry Kalashnik

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