translated from original SS publications. The articles are about being hard on oneself, being hard enough to withstand the war and, to a lesser extent, being hard against the enemy. They are arranged in the chronological order of the SS magazine issues where they appeared, ranging from volume five in 1939 to volume ten in 1944. The original illustrations are also included.
Bitter weeks lie behind me, weeks full of horrible experience. But we soldiers here in the east learn a tremendous self-consciousness and sobriety over ourselves. Here we become cleaner, better, harder, healthier. The soldiers who have already held out for over three years in Russia, those are the best men of our folk, by far the best. It is so: one should no longer train recruits in German barracks with shower rooms, beds, lockers etc., rather in filthy nests on the east. One should no longer assemble German divisions in Western Europe, rather in the occupied east.
Recently I picked up two men separated from their unit, who had been in the Hague just ten days before. It is completely clear to us here that at first not much can be expected from such people, regardless how well equipped they may be. It is really a shame about what all is lost in the first fighting. This view spreads more and more. Even troop units that have been in the homeland for a longer time for replenishment or training are no longer worth as much as if they had never been there. One must first overcome the “dead point”; one must unlearn looking back, one must learn that the path to a real and genuine life only follows the detour over the defeat of the opponent, that there is no going back.
The homeland is too beautiful for us; it makes us sick, slack, soft. That has nothing to do with the mood at home. Rather it is the safety, the measuredness of all life to our being, that is what makes us so sick when we return to the Russian misery, to the loneliness and desolation of pitiless demand, which has probably only been so absolutely imposed on the Athenians in their struggle against Sparta, or Caesar in his fight against Vereingetorix.
One must understand that, also purely emotionally, otherwise one succumbs to the tremendous pressure that rests on one spiritually. When one understands that, this pressure disappears immediately. In its place comes the ice-cold, active will to get at the enemy and to beat him at any price. During my various assignments I have become acquainted with very diverse divisions; some who have been in Russia without interruption since 1941, some in Germany during the war and some that were assembled in France. The last ones are the ones who find it the hardest to get used to the unconditionality of the Russian land in order to gain a clear view for the gigantic possibilities of these expanses, which wait there for European formative energy.
In each head haunts: “Back then in France – !”, instead of saying: “Here I am, here I remain – and if it is not so nice here, then it will become nice, that is why I am who I am!” The last, unfortunately, is only said by far too few. If we would firmly bite into the Russian earth – the Soviets would never get rid of us. But, unfortunately, only a few firmly bite in here; others dream about the end of the war at home, but not the end of the war as a free man in the east. And that is a big shame. That is what must come. At that moment the Russian can try whatever he wants; he will not advance an inch…”