The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Guderian:  The XXIIIrd armored corps, which up to now has been in
reserve, has also turned up here.

The Fuehrer:  So, that makes no more sense.

Guderian:  Of course. he now has no tank-reserves.

The Fuehrer:  I would no longer withdraw the 23rd from here.

Guderian:  This is most likely taking place now. He will spread out the

The Fuehrer:  This is very serious. Once, Guderian, this is taken back,
he will again push in here. He will make a strong attack in the
direction of Stuhlweissenburg, because he is cutting up the whole
business [Klumpatsch]. This must therefore be secured. That is the most
important thing to do. The second one is here.

GuderianYes, that will be stressed later.

The Fuehrer: He will push in here with all his might. This is the first

Guderian:  If that is withdrawn, certainly. The question is, whether
this should be held here.

The Fuehrer:  Then they will be destroyed here. It can't be done with
the present forces. Here one line for the defense must be taken, and one
here. In this area he has to make the assault first against the weaker
enemy; he can do that somehow. Otherwise he will get a defensive front
here of such a length, that it can't be done with these forces. Then he
must retreat. We must make decisions now with lightning speed. We have
no time to try out anything like up there, but it must he done like
lightning. Therefore I order that he immediately assumes the defensive
and that he strengthens it with all possible means. Here he has the
people's artillery corps. Here he must have other units, otherwise he
can't do anything. Unfortunately one can not count on this division;
this is an illusion.

Guderian:  It will take a very long time.

The Fuehrer:  Probably the rear echelon troops will arrive first. There
is one train here?

                                                              [Page 664]

Guderian:  One train has arrived, six are due to arrive. There are
combat units among them, but not many, some artillery and one battalion.

The Fuehrer: With cavalry I can't stop a tank assault, that will
certainly happen here, and should he suddenly break-through here, then
the whole thIng is totally lost. Then I have to see, that I manage it
somehow; there is nothing one can do about it. The whole assault came at
a moment when he had the forces free here. That is too late already. It
had to be carried out for a start, three weeks ago; perhaps at that time
it would have been possible, that we would have come through with one
push and establish a connection. It is also a question, whether one
would have been able to hold that. I do not know. For, on the other
hand, I do not overlook that one point, that the enemy would not have
stood here, but here. This is also a questionable thing; if he pushes on
farther here, then. . . . This must be put in hand right

Guderian: This will be done right away, my Fuehrer. At the Central Army
Group movements are carried out smoothly. The other final position which
is to be taken, is this line. The enemy has only pushed very slightly
there. The withdrawal of the 208th division proceeds rather smoothly.
The transport stopped due to various interruptions on the railroad. One
part is being loaded in Briesen.

The Fuehrer: Is this the final position?

Guderian: Yes. It should be reached by 30 January.

The Fuehrer: Naturally, this would be good, because behind it we would
still have the large Rochade Line.

Guderian: It should then connect with the 8th army at that point below.
Over here the 100th Jaeger division is withdrawing; this is now almost
accomplished. Behind it is the Ski Aeger division, of which the first
two battalions already are in position up here. It isn't quite deployed
as yet. Here is a part of the Ski Jaeger division, which had to be sent
in, because the enemy had pressed heavily here. In the area of the 17th
army very heavy battles have developed. The attacks have become

                                                              [Page 665]

static in one connecting line in the area from Richau to Auschwitz.
However Auschwitz has been lost. Farther north the 371st division has
been split into three fighting groups, between which only very loose
connections exist. Five tanks have been shot up. The situation in the
industrial area itself is serious. The enemy has encircled Mieslowitz
from both sides in a break-through from the south and a breakthrough in
the north, and has pushed through towards Kattowitz. There is fighting
in Kattowitz. From the south enemy tanks have pushed into Kattowitz.
Fighting groups, consisting of groups scraped together from other units,
units of the 20th panzer division, have been committed to counter
attacks in order to regain the loss. In various places farther north
very heavy attacks and break-throughs have taken place, nevertheless
General Schoerner decided to withdraw a further number of battalions
here, in order to cut off the enemy break-through in the direction of
Hindenburg and to the south of it which has taken place beyond Gleiwitz.
In these battles, yesterday 30, and today again 10 tanks of the 20th
panzer division have been shot up, altogether 40. However the 20th
panzer division itself is engaged on a wide front in a very furious and
unequal defense battle.

The enemy once more has encircled us farther south. Three battalions of
the 1st Ski Jaeger division are being sent up in order to counteract
this move.

The 8th armored division, now arrived in greater part (31 of 39
transports) is being assembled near Ratibor to be used in a
counter-attack in the direction of Rauden.

The Fuehrer:  Where is the principal coal district?

Goering:  Rybnick and Maehrisch-Ostrau.

Buhle: That is a very important district.

Goering:  High-grade steel and everything.

Guderian:  As from this evening, regimental units from Gneisenau. now in
the Protectorate will be put in

                                                              [Page 666]

marching order, to join the army group [Heeres-Gruppe] in
Maehrisch-Ostrau overnight.

Here the 3rd Russian guards-tank-army with its subordinate corps, a
total of 5 tank corps is deployed, who are strongly pushing south, to
surround this industrial district from the west. Here, the fighting is
heavy and at present unequal.

To the north, within the region of the army group, fighting for the
Oder-crossings developed. We succeeded at Kruppitz in throwing back the
enemy yesterday. This morning, they advanced and recrossed the Oder.
Counter-attacks are in progress to throw them back again. Here the 100th
Jaeger division and the Stegmann group, which is an armored group of the
103rd panzer brigade are in the line.

The bridgehead which had formed a connecting link here, was broken into
and split at this one place. Whether this situation will remain so
permanent, is not quite certain.

To the north of Oppeln there is also an enlarging of the bridgehead,
which will have to be diminished through counter-attacks of assembled
combat groups under command of General Hoffmann. Here there was an
advance as far as the river, likewise here in the middle.

The broad bridgehead south of Schurgast present, difficulties and

The enemy also managed to cross the river between Brieg and Ohlau.
Counter-attacks were started but did not succeed. Now, here in Zedlitz,
where the enemy attack yesterday has progressed far beyond the street
and the railroad, the enemy was thrown back into the street by combat
elements under direction of the commanding officer Ohlau. We shall try
today, by putting in the Pantherrabteilung 1/39, to clear up the
situation completely. So far 4 enemy tanks have been knocked out.

No change in the situation in the bend of the Oder southeast of Breslau.
In spite of heavy attacks and a slight indentation of the lines, the

                                                              [Page 667]

269th division has managed to maintain its position. The situation is
difficult south of Steinau and at Koehen, where during the forenoon the
enemy managed to accomplish deeper breakthroughs in the direction of
Herzogswalde and Rauthen. Here combat elements of the LOS have been
thrown in under the command of General Kirchner's LVIlth tank corps and
here under the command of the staff of the 16th tank division which had
already been withdrawn from the pocket, a counter-attack was made
together with a nuniber of SM from the Glogau district about the result
of which we have no reports. All we know is, that the attack has been

The Fuehrer:  What does this mean?

Guderian:  This is the objective of the Saucken and Juercorps. They have
reached the district of Koppelstedt and are now to advance to
Schmueekert; there they should turn south and beat the enemy forces in
line. especially the 4th guards tank army and the two tank corps, which
have advanced already as far as the river, thereby endangering the
bridgehead, and thus relieving the sector north of Breslau.

The Saucken-corps was attacked today at Horle from the south. 16 tanks
were destroyed in this sector. The northern flank of this corps is
covered by the 19th armored div. which is deployed in the sector of
Gosten and Storchnest and remains in fair fighting condition with a
number of light artillery pieces and their own artillery, so that it is
to be hoped that this screening is sufficient to cover the attack to the

The 9th army today moves into the Reichsfuehrer's sector of the Weichsel
army group. The command in Glogau has already been taken over by the
XXIVth tank corps under General Nehrung, who withdraws his forces, so
far as they are still within his command, to form a new point of
resistance on the Oder and if possible to extend this point eastwards
from the Oder.

The enemy up here is at present advancing with tank corps. What has
filtered through the line

                                                              [Page 668]

Glogau-Graetz, so far consists chiefly of reconnaissance elements, who
are, up to Wollstein quite numerous but of negligible strength from
there on. The Tirschtiegel Position was held, and only a few patrols
infiltrated there.

Fegelein: The Reichsfuehrer just ordered that the Tirschtigel position
be held by Volkssturm only, and all other elements were to advance.

The Fuehrer:  That is the objective.

Fegelein: That is correct.

The Fuehrer:  The objective is, that the Volkssturm is to be put in the
line here, and all other available troops are to advance and press on
down here.

Guderian:  An order to all units had been issued. Above all, they were
to advance to the line Lissaz-Kosten-Posen. That was interrupted here.
Without the Reichsfuehrer and myself knowing about it, these units were
stopped at the Tirschtiegel positions by Wehrkreis III. I have made
inquiries twice a day, whether these units are moving forward. The order
has evidently not been carried out with the necessary emphasis.

The Fuehrer:  It will be carried out with the necessary emphasis now.

Fegelein:He now has 2 companies of light artillery. His objective is to
advance into the Posen sector.

Guderian: That is the Saucken group. The Reichsmarshall's division and
the Brandenburg division are here.

They will lead the attack, and annihilate enemy forces in the
Steinauer-Oder bend.

The Fuehrer: That is good.

Jodl: There is only one thing I cannot understand. Didn't you say, that
the 19th was to be withdrawn?

Guderian:  No, the 19th is in Gostyn.

Jodl: Then it must be other forces, since they must cover the rear.

Guderian:  No, so far only rear echelon units, workshop units etc., have
been withdrawn. They are beyond the Oder. All else will be held there.

I request authorization, for putting in line the war academy, which at
any rate would close within the next few days, in order to form in this
sector, directly west of the Oder together with 2 comp-

                                                              [Page 669]

panies of the Berlin guard regiment a dense line of resistance, strongly
interspersed with officers, to avoid dispersal of other forces.

The Fuehrer: Yes -- And here cavalry is to be employed.

Fegelein:The reserve training cavalry regiment, about 1,500 strong,
which General Schoerner supplies from rear echelons.

Guderian: The men are to be distributed.

Goering: What returns here, is of course very weak in officer material;
now, when these good selected officers are added...

The Fuehrer:  I admit that. Here tens of thousand men retreat. They must
he collected. They must also have officers, and the best, or else you
cannot get hold of them.

Guderian: You want to start here, collect things, put them in order and
initiate a forward movement.

Goering:  But not in formations.

The Fuehrer:  No, I want to establish a collecting line here,
to.assemble men and put things in order. But you can do that only with
the best.

Goering:  I am of the same opinion.

The Fuehrer..And here we must have the cavalry.

Fegelein:They will arrive the day after tomorrow.

The Fuehrer: What is the name of the unit?

Fegelein:That is the cavalry reserve and training regiment. They are
about 1,500 strong.

The Fuehrer: Schoerner will be entrusted with this task, to cover the
roads in the rear.

Guderian: The war academy is to cover the roads from Breslau to Glogau.

The Fuehrer: Eastwards of Breslau this can be done by the calvary
regiment. They are 1500 strong.

Fegelein:There may be more, I am not certain. The commanding officer is
on the way. They are at the disposal of the 8th and 22nd divisions. But
that is not of importance.

The Fuehrer: It is of no importance. The most important thing is, that
they solve this problem.

Guderian: It is true that formations which retreat in marching order are
in good condition and carry no surplus men, but that a good many
shirkers have infiltrated into treckers and railroads returning frorn
the front and that on these vehicles

                                                              [Page 670]

many soldiers are returning as drivers and helpers who have, in part,
changed their uniform for civilian clothing. Control of these matters
should not so much cover military formations, which under guidance of
officers, maintenance men, and inspectors retreat in orderly fashion,
but rather these treckers.

The Fuehrer:  They are caught in a rear zone anyway. They cannot get
beyond it, but whatever leaks through must be caught in rear echelons.
Schoerner reports that so far he was able to reinstate 13,000 men.

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