During the Second World War, the Germans also fought on the side of the USSR. One of them, Shmenkel Fritz Paul, even became a hero of the USSR.
Shmenkel Fritz Paul (Fritz Paulevich - so called him by the partisans, along with the pseudonym "Ivan Ivanovich") - was a fighter of the partisan detachment "Death to Fascism" in the Kalinin region of the RSFSR; deputy. commander of the reconnaissance and sabotage group "Field", which operated on the territory of Northern Orsha of the Byelorussian SSR.
He was born on February 14, 1916 in the town of Varzov, near the town of Stettin (Germany), in a simple family of working-class parents. German. Member of the Communist Youth International of Germany. In peacetime, he worked at the Varzovsky factory for the production of bricks. After mobilization in October 1936, he worked at the Beiten brick factory.
In December 1938, pretending to be sick, not recognizing fascism F. Shmenkel evaded conscription into the Wehrmacht, for this he was convicted and imprisoned in the city of Torgau. In October 1941, his punishment was replaced by sending him to the Eastern Front.
In November 1941, F. Shmenkel, not far from the city of Bely, Kalinin region, fled from the ranks of the Wehrmacht troops and, by some miracle, joined the Russian partisans. It is not clear who and how checked, and most importantly believed in his good intentions, but the fact remains - from February 7, 1942 he was considered a member of the Death to Fascism partisan detachment. Until March 1942, as part of the detachment, Shmenkel performed the roles of a scout, machine gunner, participant and sometimes head of military operations. "Death to Fascism" operated on the territory of the Kalinin and Smolensk regions. Taking part in the operations, F. Shmenkel showed exceptional courage, courage, fearlessness and heroism.
On May 6, 1942, in a battle with German tanks, Shmenkel prompted the detachment commander to shoot at the barrels of fuel installed on the tanks. Fritz's advice turned out to be useful: thanks to this, the partisans set fire to 5 enemy tanks.
Commemorative plaque to Fritz Shmenkel at house number 4 on Freedom Square in Minsk
In August 1942, Fritz Schmenkel, with a group of partisans dressed in German uniforms, captured 11 policemen without a fight and handed them over to the partisan court.
Once, having changed into a general's uniform, he stopped a German train on the road and sent it into the forest. There was a lot of ammunition and food in the wagon train.
The Nazis managed to learn about a German soldier who fought in a partisan detachment, and a large award was announced for Shmenkel's head.
In September 1943, "Ivan Ivanovich" was sent to the reconnaissance department of the Western Front, where he underwent special training, and then he was appointed deputy commander of the "Field" group, which was engaged in reconnaissance and sabotage on enemy territory.
In December 1943 F. Shmenkel and intelligence officers Rozhkov I.A. and Vinogradov V.D. sent to the rear to the Nazis. However, at the beginning of 1944, Shmenkel was captured by Hitler's soldiers. On February 15, 1944, he was sentenced to an estimated execution, and on February 22, 1944, he was shot in Minsk, then still captured by the Wehrmacht.
From the last letter to his wife:
Forgive me for the disturbance that I caused you by following the chosen path to the end. But I do not give up my business in the last hours of my life. I go boldly towards my execution, since I am dying for a good cause.
By the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of October 6, 1964 for courage, valor and courage in the war with fascist Germany Shmenkel Fritz Paul was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
He was also awarded the Order of Lenin (6.10.1964, posthumously), the Order of the Red Banner (1943).
It was such a Russian German who fought for the Soviet people, shedding the blood of his compatriots, whose views were alien to him.