The DDR - Revisited

Stalingrad Memorial

We initially drove passed this simple memorial but, for some reason, decided to reverse and investigate.

The text is difficult to read but it is a memorial to Burchard von Oettingen an expert in the breeding of fine horses who was named the Royal Prussian "Oberlandstallmeister".
In 1913 he used all his acquired knowledge to build a model stud farm in Altefeld......this memorial commemorates its completion.

However, on one of the other faces a later slab has been added and reads.........

"To the heroes of the Sixth Army who remained in Stalingrad - hartung 1945" (note the lower case 'h')

Initial enquiries described that the previous owner had a son who died in Stalingrad.

"hartung" means "February" in old Anglo-Saxon and 1945 was the second anniversary of the German surrender at Stalingrad (February 1943).

It is interesting to consider that the family were able to add this panel to the memorial when Germany was only a few months away from total collapse and defeat.

Further research:
After France was occupied by the Germans in June 1940, Joseph Pulte, a Lieutenant Colonel in the German Army, was given instructions to upgrade the German studs at Graditz and Altefeld with top French bloodstock.
Altefeld was initially known as the German National Stud but between 1941 and 1945 the stud was annexed by the SS and became an army stud.
Altefeld was liberated by the US Army in early 1945.

The above information casts some doubts on the accuracy of the initial story about the son of the previous owner.

An article by the Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research describes how the Lauenstein-Altefeld facilities were used to house children who had special needs.

The article describes that Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, leader of the Abwehr, the German spy organisation, had two children in the home, one registered as a pupil and one temporarily evacuated. He is reported to have played an important part in holding a protecting hand over the residents of Lauenstein-Altefeld when they were evicted in 1941 and given new premises at Seewalde in the Mecklenburg area north of Berlin.


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