(Translation to English)
Wolfgang Kirstein retraced the history of the 295th "Wehrmachts-Division" The weighty result of a research. It is a heavy load for Wolfgang Kirstein`s hard work: His 1,297 pages -more than 4 kg in weight- War Chronicle about a "Wehrmachts-Division" whose fate was sealed in the notorious pocket of Stalingrad. "Documentation, no judgement" that is the motto of the enthusiastic (keen) hobby historian. For more than 10 years Kirstein buried himself in archives, talked to eyewitnesses, travelled for his research all over Germanny and to the original Russian sites. Photographs, letters, personal accounts and official material flowed into the chronologically written reconstruction of a war-diary of the 295th division. "It was important to me that high ranking officers as well as normal soldiers have equal share in what is said" says Kirstein. For a long time the computer scientist hasn`t dreamed that the results of his research would ever be summed up in a book. At the beginning there had only been an interest in history that he had been busy with as a child. "History had always been my special subject at school. At the age of 19 I went in for genealogy." The today 45 year old author would probably have become a professional historian if his father hadn`t warned him against the fact that there was no money in it in those days. By request of his family Kirstein took up a proper career and ended up in data processing.
His uncle died in Stalingrad
Ten years ago after a long break the man who regards himself as being meticulous gave in to the intellectual curiosity.From that point on he devoted himself to the 295th Infantry Division. The fate of his uncle Gustav Kirstein who had fought in the Lower-Saxon unit and had died at the age of 22, started off this topic. Kirstein remembers "At some time I had the impression that something could come of it." The decision to write a chronicle was followed by another five and a half years of work on this mammoth enterprise. The author restrains on a personal judgement of the war, he lets only the facts speak for themselves.
Chronicle was published privately
The diction of the witnesses however seems to be of a military kind; e.g. In the preface Paul Baier Lieutnant Colonel, retired, speaks of "soldiery performance to do one`s duty" and of "bravery". No criticism of the "Militärmaschinerie" of the 3rd Reich which in the 2nd World War alone sent 4 Million German and 13.6 Million Russian soldiers to death. On November 1, 1999 Kirstein published his chronicle plus supplement with an extravagantly designed folder with maps of the battles. For nearly 400 Marks the reader will get to know everything that could be researched about the 295th division. To this belongs not only the lamentable loss of 21,000 in less than 22 months but also the distribution of 41,670 pairs of socks among the troops in April 1942.