Deutsche Bug Zeitung, Nr. 4, 2. Jahrgang, Nikolajew, Sonnabend, 16 Januar 1943. Einzelpreis 10 Rpfg.=1 Kar.
A rare surviving copy of a German Army field newspaper, which was published twice weekly, on Wednesday and on Sunday evening. One sheet, folded once, 4 pages, unillustrated, German text. Clearly a German propaganda publication, written to conceal the impending military disaster and to boost Germany army moral with biased and doctored news reports.
Mikolaiv, “Nikolajew” on the masthead of this newspaper, is a city in southern Ukraine, which was since ancient times – and remains – a transportation hub for rail, river, and sea transport. Mykolaiv is located on a peninsula in Ukraine’s steppe region 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the Black Sea along the estuary of the Bug river, where the Bug river meets the Inhul River.
A crucial strategic objective for the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, by the end of November 1941, Ukraine was under German control and organized as the Reichskommissariat Ukraine.
In early 1943, Stalingrad was retaken by the Soviet army, where 148,000 Germans died and 92,000 Germans were taken prisoner. On January 24, 1943, eight days after this newspaper was printed, General von Paulus asked Hitler for permission to surrender, which Hitler forbade him to do. On February 3, 1943, the Battle of Stalingrad was over. Recently elevated in rank to Field Marshal, von Paulus surrendered, the first German field marshal to do so.
Printed under strict military censorship, the lead article on the front page, “Unviermindert heftige schwere Abwehrkämpfe im Süden der Ostfront und im Raum von Stalingrad,“ does not mention the desperate conditions at Stalingrad, in which open cannibalism and tularemia were already prevalent. The German army reports of field mice damaging the wiring in the armored vehicles confirm the rodent infestation on the Stalingrad battlefield. The Soviet troops had an immunity to tularemia, which gave them an added strategic advantage in an area known for outbreaks of this plague-like disease. There is a longer article on page 2 with more news: “Schwere Kämpfe in Raum von Stalingrad.”
A copy of the Deutsche Bug-Zeitung, Jg. 1, Nr. 2, 1942, is found at the Library of Congress. One fold-separation, printed on wood-pulp paper, otherwise overall good condition. The racial stereotypes, personality cult symbols and political views articulated in this German army newspaper do not represent the views or opinions of the bookseller.