Breakthrough at Stalingrad: The repressed Soviet origins of a bestselling West German war tale

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Abstract

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 this manuscript, believed lost, in Russian 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalContemporary European History
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History

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