Today, 69 years ago, on 15 October 1942 was published in the Crimean Simferopol this German-Russian phrasebook, whose content, as the introduction says, “was determined by the practical needs of the German and Russian users who today are in close contact with each other. The dictionary was also designed for Russian persons traveling to work in Germany.”

Third, revised and complemented edition, approved by the German High Command. Edition of the author, G. D. Kostylev. Technical editor and proofreader: V. M. Terabillo. Printed in the Simferopol Printing House, 15 October 1942

Apart from the introduction, only one more page was found on the Russian net: the list of holidays in German, Russian and the German names in Cyrillic transcription. This latter, as well as the complete lack of Russian holidays shows, whose practical needs determined the content of the phrasebook.

The holidays

Christ’s baptism
Ascension of Christ
Pentecost [in the Russian: Trinity]
January 1 – New Year
January 30 – Foundation of the Third Reich
April 20 – Birthday of the Führer, Adolf Hitler

May 1 – The People’s Feast
October 4 – Harvest Festival
October 18 – Feast of the Reformation
November 9 – Day of the Fallen for the National Socialist Movement
National holiday
Name day
Family feast

The phrasebook was published some days after the Harvest Festival. Photo by Life Magazine

When the dictionary appeared, they were already over the 1942 Easter celebrations on the Russian front. Christmas was soon to come.

Figures of recommended “Christmas” (officially: Winter Solstice) tree ornaments and Hakenkreuzkranz (swastika-shaped Advent wreath) from the National Socialist Christmas brochure Vorweihnachten 1942

Christmas of German troops on the Russian front, 1942

“Light, life, love. Christmas 1942 in the Cauldron of Festung Stalingrad.” The so-called “Stalingrad Mother of God”. Drawing by Lutheran pastor and military surgeon Kurt Reuber (died on 20 January 1944 in the prisoner of war camp of Yelabuga) on the back of a Russian map for the Christmas night of the 6th German Army in the blockaded Stalingrad Cauldron. The original is today in the Berlin Cathedral, its copy in the Volgograd (Stalingrad’s name since 1961) Cathedral.

Christmas with the Stalingrad Mother of God. Work by the Volgograd painter Vladislav Koval for the 65th anniversary of the occupation of Stalingrad, 21 January 2008 (the letters are not part of the original painting)

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