Erwin König

Erwin König
Nickname(s) Heinz Thorvald
Died 1942
Stalingrad, Soviet Union
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Rank Major
Battles/wars Battle of Stalingrad

Erwin König, depicted as Heinz Thorvald,[1] is a name of an apocryphal Wehrmacht sniper allegedly killed by the Soviet sniper Vasily Zaytsev during the Battle of Stalingrad.[2][3]

König is mentioned both in Zaytsev's memoirs Notes of a Sniper (a ‘Major Konings’, potentially SS) and William Craig's 1973 non-fiction book Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad.[4] He was portrayed by Ed Harris in the 2001 film Enemy at the Gates.[5]

The alleged duel between Zaytsev and König took place over a period of three days in the ruins of Stalingrad.[2]

In a post-war visit to Berlin, Zaytsev was allegedly confronted by a woman who told him she was König's daughter, with Soviet authorities quickly evacuating Zaytsev to avoid any confrontation.[6]


  1. Robbins, David L. (1999). War of the Rats. Bantam Books. p. 512. ISBN 0-553-58135-X. OCLC 4451243.
  2. 1 2 Zaytsev, Vasily (2010). Okrent, Neil, ed. Notes of a Russian Sniper: Vassili Zaitsev and the Battle of Stalingrad. Frontline. p. 193. ISBN 9781848325654.
  3. Craig, William. Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad. Reader's Digest Press. p. 457. ISBN 0141390174. OCLC 613817.
  4. Naughton, John (28 February 2013). "War mentality: How a man boosted the morale in Stalingrad". Russia Beyond. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  5. "Famous Snipers in History". CBS News. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  6. "Vassili Zaitsev (Russian)". Fakty (in Russian). Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2009.
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