Chilling but war is chilling…
(1891-1967) was a prolific Soviet writer and journalist. His article “Kill
Him!” (the actual title was simply “Kill!”), published in 1942,
was widely read.
Krasnaya Zvezda (No173 ) 24 July 1942
“Here are excerpts from three letters found on dead Germans. Inspector Reinhardt wrote to Lieutenant Otto Schirach: “[…] I have found six Russians in the area. They last far longer than Frenchmen. Only one of them has died. […] Their upkeep costs nothing and we must not tolerate that these animals, whose children are possibly killing our children right now, get to eat German bread. Yesterday I whipped lightly two Russian beasts who secretly drunk up skim milk meant for pigs […]” A certain Otto Essmann wrote to Lieutenant Helmut Wiegand: “We now have some Russian prisoners of war. These fellows feed on worms by the airstrip and throw themselves at buckets of dirty water. I have seen them eating weeds. It is hard to believe that these are human beings…” Slavers – they would like to enslave our people. They take some Russians home, mistreat them, make them lose their wits by hunger, to the point that they eat grass and worms, and then a repulsive German with a stinking cigar can philosophise: “Are these perhaps human beings?” We know everything. We remember everything. We have understood: Germans are not human beings. Henceforth the word German means to us the most terrible curse. From now on the word German will trigger your rifle. We shall not speak any more. We shall not get excited. We shall kill. If you have not killed at least one German a day, you have wasted that day. If you think that instead of you, the man next to you will kill him, you have not understood the threat. If you do not kill the German, he will kill you. If you cannot kill your German with a bullet, kill him with your bayonet. If there is calm on your part of the front, if you are waiting for the fighting, kill a German before combat. If you leave a German alive, the German will hang a Russian and rape a Russian woman. If you kill one German, kill another – there is nothing more amusing for us than a heap of German corpses. Do not count days; do not count miles. Count only the number of Germans you have killed. Kill the German – this is your old mother’s prayer. Kill the German – this is what your children beseech you to do. Kill the German – this is the cry of your Russian earth. Do not waver. Do not let up. Kill.”
A little earlier, on 18 July 1942 the “Red Star” published a poem by Konstantin Simonov titled “Kill him”, which possibly, inspired Ehrenburg to come up with his subsequent article.
The “Kill The Germans” campaign took many forms. It appeared on billboards and as posters.
Art Institute of Chicago collection
(Russian, founded 1924)
Konstantin Mikhailovich Simonov
(Born Petrograd, 1915; died Moscow, 1979)
Kill Him!, TASS No. 0527, July 23, 1942
2865 x 1140 mm
If you don’t want to give away
To a German, with his black gun,
Your house, your wife, your mother
And everything we call our native land.
Then know your homeland won’t be saved
If you yourself do not save it.
And know the enemy won’t be killed,
If you yourself do not kill him.
Ne boltai! Collection, Obj: 203967