Bruno Sutkus


Bruno Sutkus

Infobox Military Person
name=Bruno Sutkus
lived=birth date and age|1924|5|14|df=y
placeofbirth= Tannenwalde in East Prussia, today Чкаловск in the Kaliningrad Oblast
placeofdeath=


caption=
nickname=
allegiance=Germany
serviceyears=
rank=
unit=68th Infantry Division
battles=
awards=Iron Cross 2nd & 1st class
Infantry Assault Badge
Wound Badge (silver)
Sniper's Badge (gold)

Born on May 14 1924, in Tannenwalde (suburb of Königsberg in East Prussia), Bruno Sutkus (lith. "Bronius Sutkus") was a German sniper in the 68th Infantry Division on the Eastern Front of World War II, and was credited with 209 kills. [ "Respublika", Nr. 284(1694). Gražina Ašembergiene. "209 kartus gyvas". December 4, 1995 (Lithuanian newspaper) ] Every kill was recorded in an individual "sniper's book" and had to be confirmed by other soldiers and superior authority. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Sutkus held lectures for Lithuanian soldiers and presented his war time records to Lithuanian officers.

He joined the Hitler Youth in 1938, achieving the rank of a Scharführer. When he was 18 years old he became a member of the SA where his shooting skills were acknowledged, and he was given a rifle to take home and practise marksmanship.

Sutkus trained as a sniper from August 1 through the end of December 1943 in Vilnius, before being assigned to the 68th Infantry Division.

In his autobiography, Sutkus describes that after the war he came into contact with the Lithuanian resistance (cf. Forest Brothers), how he was captured and severely tortured by the KGB, which then deported him and many Lithuanians to Siberia for forced labor - where he was forced to stay for 22 years before being allowed to relocate to Vilnius.

Sutkus was married to a Lithuanian woman (meanwhile deceased). He has one son. Only in 1990 - after 45 years - Sutkus got the opportunity to visit Germany again, where he moved in 1997.

Memorable quotation

Sutkus quoted two members of the Lithuanian resistance who tried to persuade him not to join their ranks (Diary of a sniper, page 75):: "If you can live legally you'll grow 80 years old. Joining the guerrilla you will die. They will torture your parents and send them to Siberia. We can't achieve anything because the Soviet predominance is crushing. We're constantly haunted. We have no area for retreat, no supplies and no food. Large Soviet forces are searching the woods. Often we are starving and the wounded get no treatment. The people who support us get arrested, viciously tortured and send to Siberia. Sooner or later the Soviets will choke the whole Lithuanian resistance in blood. We're all going to die. They will throw our desecrated bodies onto the marketplace. Reconnaissance planes are often flying over the woods to take pictures. Spies are infiltrating our ranks. Day and night we can't feel safe in the bunkers und are therefore always moving, to again and again, like rats, dig new bunkers into the soil. There's no other way.": "One of us shall survive to be able to tell how we lived, fought, and died."

Awards

*Iron Cross 2nd Class - July 6th 1944
*Wound Badge (black) - September 7th 1944
*Iron Cross 1st Class - November 16th 1944
*Sniper's Badge (1st class - gold) - November 21st 1944
*Infantry Assault Badge (silver) - November 29th 1944
*Wound Badge (silver) - March 1st 1945
*Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 25 November 1944

References


* "Lietuvos aidas", Nr. 93(6814). Saulius Šaltenis. "Karo meistras". May 6, 1995 (Lithuanian newspaper)
* Murawski, Erich. "Der deutsche Wehrmachtbericht 1939 - 1945, vom 1.7.1944 bis zum 9.5.1945". Schriften des Bundesarchivs 9, Boppoard am Rhein: Harald Boldt Verlag, 1962
* Sutkus, Bruno (2003), "Im Fadenkreuz – Tagebuch eines Scharfschützen" [i.e. Inside the crosshair - the diary of a sniper] . Munin.

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