Hitler ordered to design a
There was a Crimean Shield,
a Narvik Shield, a Cholm Shield, so why not a shield for the
<>Paulus ordered the Public
Relations Officer to design a Stalingrad Shield.
Stalingrad soldier ? Paulus agreed but others were against the
idea. Chief of Staff Schmidt
said that Stalingrad wasn't captured yet. The decorations had to
He passed it on to Propaganda Company 637. The Company commissioned the
war artist, Ernst Eigener, to prepare the design.
Eigener had been in the war
from the very beginning, in Poland, France, Russia and now
Stalingrad. He was to be met everywhere, in tanks and trucks and in the
mud with the in-
fantry. He loved life and all living creatures, and therefore he hated
war. Friends said of
him that he could not laugh; this was not quite true; they meant that
they had never seen
Eigener was interested in
much that other men pass by without a glance; ruins, which others might
ignore, appealed to his artist's eye. He examined where most were merely
bored; gun fire and clouds, sun and mud, the clear nights, the Volga
mist. He thought of no
man as his enemy, and so dearly did he love this land that he hoped one
day to return to Russia and to live in a house in the hills beside the
In the centre of the shield
Ernst Eigener drew a silo, amidst the ruins of the city beside the
Volga. Turned towards it was the face of a dead soldier. Around the
soldier's helmet was a
crown of barbed wire and right across the design, in bold letters, the
single word 'Stalingrad'.
This design was turned down by Hitler's headquarters.'Too
demoralising', said the comment
on the margin of the drawing. On November 20th, 1942, a day filled with
Eigener fell in battle. He was thirty-seven years old. He fell where he
had hoped one day to
build himself a house, on the Don High Road, near Kalatch.
'The stars are eternal, but men behave as though they will be gone
Eigener wrote these words three hours before he was killed.
(copyright Geert Rottiers