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  • Breakout At Stalingrad

    I just received the book Breakout At Stalingrad authored by Heinrich Gerlach.

    The original version, published in 1957 was titled The Betrayed Army and was written by memory from his experiences with the 14th Panzer Division in the battle of Stalingrad. He had written the original manuscript while in Soviet captivity and it was confiscated. In 2012, the original manuscript was discovered and the book re - published using it (I would assume in German text).

    The English text version I have was published and released on 1 September 2018. The book is not a speedily put together POS to make money. It weighs a hefty 2 pounds, and has a sturdy sewed binding with a built - in cloth bookmark. It is reasonably priced at 21 Dollars.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/17...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


    I stumbled across the book while searching for another title on Amazon. I would never have known about it otherwise and just putting up this post in case other members here at ACG want to get a copy. As I have already stated, the book is well constructed and I do not know how many copies were published. It just might turn out to be one of those books that sells for an astronomical price once its out of print. If you are interested buy it asap! I am going to start reading it tonight for those who wish to wait for a review. Its 700 pages so it may take a while.
    The original sold over a million copies and was written in multiple languages. Heinrich Gerlach's story is an interesting one I read on Wiki. Here is an excerpt:

    Heinrich Gerlach
    (18 August 1908 - 27 March 1991) was a German soldier of the
    14th Panzer Division
    in the
    Second World War
    and later a Latin and German teacher. His semi-autobiographical novel of the
    Battle of Stalingrad
    ,
    The Forsaken Army
    , re-written with the help of hypnosis after it was seized by the Soviets, was published in Germany in 1957. In 2012,
    Carsten Gansel
    discovered the original manuscript in the State Russian Military Archive. It was published in Germany in 2016 and in an English translation in 2017 as
    Breakout at Stalingrad
    .
    [1]


    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

  • #2
    100 pages in the book is very good. It is a novel not a official documentation of the battle of Stalingrad but the author, who was in the cauldron, clearly uses his military experiences and also draws on actual events that occurred during the battle.

    The first 3 chapters introduce about a dozen of what will probably be the "main characters" of the story. It starts with the breach of the Romanian lines at the Don River in November 1942. So the book is more or less about what happened in the Stalingrad pockets after 6th Army was encircled. The flow of the narrative is very good and keeps you turning the pages.
    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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    • #3
      I have a paperback copy of it from the 70s I got at a used book store.

      A very good novel.
      Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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      • #4
        How does it compare to Stalingrad by Heinz Schroter

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        • #5
          Breakout?
          I think we have covered this before....

          But if they have any ideas on how the 15,000 wounded could have been pulled out of the pocket, or how the lose of Kalach didn't doom the whole thing right at the start, then I might look at it.
          Maybe.
          "Why is the Rum gone?"

          -Captain Jack

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          • #6
            I have some serious objections to the seriousness and neutrality of the author .
            Gerlach worked in captivity together with the Soviets and was a member of Die Bund von Deutsche Offiziere,which were German officers who worked together with the enemy ,a well-known member being von Seydlitz.
            The title of his first book The Forsaken Army,indicates his attempt to blame Hitler,and Hitler alone, for what happened at Stalingrad .
            He was also a contemporary of Paul Carell who also wrote biased fiction .

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
              Breakout?
              I think we have covered this before....

              But if they have any ideas on how the 15,000 wounded could have been pulled out of the pocket, or how the lose of Kalach didn't doom the whole thing right at the start, then I might look at it.
              Maybe.
              9208 wounded were transported out of the pocket .

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                I have some serious objections to the seriousness and neutrality of the author .
                Gerlach worked in captivity together with the Soviets and was a member of Die Bund von Deutsche Offiziere,which were German officers who worked together with the enemy ,a well-known member being von Seydlitz.
                The title of his first book The Forsaken Army,indicates his attempt to blame Hitler,and Hitler alone, for what happened at Stalingrad .
                He was also a contemporary of Paul Carell who also wrote biased fiction .
                It's a novel of fiction, not a military summary. It follows members of a unnamed Panzer Division HQ staff as the 6th Army is cut off and on to the surrender.

                It doesn't comment much on Hitler or even the strategic situation, although it portrays the 6th Army command as blindly indifferent. It's value is its depiction of the sights and feeling of the life in the 'pocket' during the days between being cut off and the surrender.
                Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The following is a summary of an article by Jochen Hellbeck published by Cambridge Core with as title :
                  Breakthrough at Stalingrad : the Repressed Soviet Origins of a Bestselling West German War tale

                  ''The article delves into the concealed origins of Heinrich Gerlach's 1957 Stalingrad novel .A German veteran and former Soviet POW, Gerlach claimed to have recovered the memory of his wartime experience through hypnosis,after the original script, which he wrote in captivity ,was confiscated by Soviet authorities.The author discovered the manuscript,believed lost, in Soviet archives .It reveals how Soviet political re-education efforts prompted Gerlach to compose a memoir revolving around questions of personal complicity and guilt in German wartime crimes .Gerlach removed these soul-searching passages,as well as any reference to the Soviet origins of his memoir,from the published novel,which he presented as a self-generated inquiry into the tragedy of German soldiers abandoned by Hitler .''

                  May I also refer to note 5 (there are 77 notes ) where it is written that the English version (the Forsaken Army ) is a heavily condensated adaption of the German original .
                  Thus, we have a novel written in Soviet captivity by a German POW who collaborated with the Soviets , which was later published in West Germany in a purged version and translated in a heavily condensated English version .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So now we are to start a debate on a novel? First of all, it was originally titled The Forsaken Army. Apparently the publishers thought the title Breakout At Stalingrad would sell more books. Personally, both titles are fine with me. Everyone knows there was absolutely no chance of a breakout once they were encircled and you could even make a strong argument that a breakout was almost impossible in late October and early November. This thread is about a novel about the experience of being trapped in the Stalingrad pocket not whether or not the 6th Army had a chance to breakout.

                    As for a collusion between Heinrich Gerlach and his communist captors to give the book a pro - communist - anti - fascist slant why would his captors confiscate it? If you don't want to read it don't read it. It is a novel for Christ sake!!

                    The novel itself is 548 pages. There is a further 160 pages of appendixes by the man who found the original manuscript - Carsten Gansel

                    APPENDIX
                    1. Seventy Years In Captivity; The remarkable story of Heinrich Gerlach's novel
                    2. Its All Come Back To Me; Using hypnosis to release locked away memories
                    3. The Forsaken Army; A surprise best seller
                    4. A Novel on trial; A first in legal and medical history
                    5.
                    A Spectacular Discovery; Breakout At Stalingrad
                    6.
                    All In The Past Memoirs of a Konigsberg Man
                    7. Heinrich Gerlach In Lunyovo Special Camp; The founding of the BDO - Lost documentary footage
                    8. Heinrich Gerlach In Lunyovo Special Camp and the German Communist Exiles; A Who's Who of the future GDR
                    9. They'd Started Into The Abyss Of Hell; Writing as an act of liberation
                    10. He's Trying To Cover Up His Past; Heinrich Gerlach's odyssey through POW camps
                    11. Unsuitable For Repatriation; Heinrich Gerlach in the clutches of the NKVD Secret Service
                    12
                    . Newfound Freedom And Fear Of Abduction; Heinrich Gerlach in the sights of the Soviet Secret Police
                    13
                    . Heinrich Gerlach's "Breakout At Stalingrad" under scrutiny by the Soviet Leadership; Malenkov, Beria, Suslov, Kruglov, Grigorian, Serov, and Kobulov
                    14. The Original Manuscript

                    Afterword

                    This book is a work of fiction. Any attempts to identify real historical personages in certain of the protagonist (unless, of course, they are well known figures like Field Marshal Paulus or General von Seydlitz) would be unjust and potentially do a great disservice both to the dead and the people who are still alive. Yet, at the same time, nothing in this book is "fabricated". All the incidences recounted in the action of the novel actually took place sometime and somewhere, either on the snowbound fields outside Stalingrad or in the ruins of the city itself. The author has exercised poetic license only where certain details of place, time and dramatis personae are concerned. He has taken the subject matter of his book from both the experiences himself underwent in and around Stalingrad and from accounts given to him by survivors of the battle - soldiers, officers, and generals - during the three years he spent in captivity. It is incumbent upon him to thank here all his former comrades for their invaluable assistance and cooperation.


                    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I remain to what I said about the neutrality of Gerlach and his seriousness :
                      the original German title was : Die Verratene Armee : this is very subjectiv and not neutral: it answers the wish of the German public to have something written about Stalingrad that would say that the men of Stalingrad were victims,betrayed and sacrificed by Hitler and that the Wehrmacht was not involved in war crimes .
                      Seriousness : I have my doubts about the writer qualities of Gerlach,the book is not convincing and I am convinced that most of the content is an expression of Gerlach's imagination and that he has exaggerated and transformed the accounts he received by survivors of Stalingrad .
                      The book is one in a serie of books about the war in the east written some 10 years after the war , and, not one of the best .
                      In the same period were published the 08/15 novels from Hans Helmut Kirst,Vorwärts Kameraden, Wir müssen zurück, from Wolfgang W.Parth ,etc.
                      Most of them are no longer readable and are for under the Greyhound bus .

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                        I remain to what I said about the neutrality of Gerlach and his seriousness

                        Good for you!

                        Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                          I remain to what I said about the neutrality of Gerlach and his seriousness
                          Try reading the novel. You'll see it is a fictional work in a historic setting that focuses upon the effects of the cauldron on the individual; in other words, it is a journey inward, not a study of political or military factors.

                          And regardless of his politics, the author was there, which makes his novel, which focus on food, shelter, and morale, very worthwhile.

                          IIRC, there are only two very brief descriptions of actual combat, both involving a single death. It is not a novel about war, but rather a novel about people in a war.
                          Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            All opinions read with great interest, leaving me exactly the same as regards the Battle for Stalingrad, nothing but very high regard and admiration for both sides and the fact that they could say with pride, "I was at Stalingrad"!! For it is nothing to do with the rights and wrongs but it is about Human suffering and the will to survive. lcm1.
                            'By Horse by Tram'.


                            I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                            " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
                              All opinions read with great interest, leaving me exactly the same as regards the Battle for Stalingrad, nothing but very high regard and admiration for both sides and the fact that they could say with pride, "I was at Stalingrad"!! For it is nothing to do with the rights and wrongs but it is about Human suffering and the will to survive. lcm1.
                              Good evening Ken. Its 6am here in NY USA. I am 250 pages in and the book is very good. Like Arnold has stated not a "blood and guts" book but more of a document on the human condition. The feelings of hopelessness, freezing, hunger, hope of a rescue that kept them going ect.
                              Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                              Comment

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