HistoryNet.com RSS
ArmchairGeneral.com RSS

HistoryNet.com Articles
America's Civil War
American History
Aviation History
Civil War Times
MHQ
Military History
Vietnam
Wild West
World War II

ACG Online
ACG Magazine
Stuff We Like
War College
History News
Tactics 101
Carlo D'Este
Books

ACG Gaming
Boardgames
PC Game Reviews

ACG Network
Contact Us
Our Newsletter
Meet Our Staff
Advertise With Us

Sites We Support
HistoryNet.com
StreamHistory.com
Once A Marine
The Art of Battle
Game Squad
Mil. History Podcast
Russian Army - WW2
Achtung Panzer!
Mil History Online

Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > World History Group Hosting > RKKA (The Russian Army) in World War II

Notices and Announcements

RKKA (The Russian Army) in World War II Discuss the Russian armed forces in World War II. Hosted by our resident Russian expert, AMVAS. Please visit his RKKA in WW2 Website.

View Poll Results: Are you interested in Y.V.Klimov's memoirs?
Yes. No doubt. 81 89.01%
Yes. You are a charming KGB provocator, and I want to read your biased propaganda 5 5.49%
No. No way, Jose! 2 2.20%
No. Though you are a very handsome KGB agent, it doesn't compensate for biasity of your propaganda 3 3.30%
Voters: 91. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #31  
Old 23 Jun 08, 02:57
TRDG's Avatar
TRDG TRDG is offline
Lieutenant General
United_States
5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Real Name: Tom Young
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 3,699
TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100]
Cool No problem, when you........

have some free time to post your next one, go for it, that works for me, it was nice to read the last one, the images I can imagine there on what he saw and did, very good!!

Cheers, I'd like some pics if you go there to, when will you know if you are heading that way, if I may ask, I'm sure our storyteller will let ya post em here I think (and Hope)!!

Tom
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 23 Jun 08, 08:58
Egorka's Avatar
Egorka Egorka is offline
Colonel
Russia
Distinguished Service Award ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,914
Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100]
Quote:
Originally Posted by TRDG View Post
Cheers, I'd like some pics if you go there to, when will you know if you are heading that way, if I may ask, I'm sure our storyteller will let ya post em here I think (and Hope)!!
Tom
When I reach the pages with photos on them I will post them here.
In the mean while check the post #1 of this thread. There are links to some other pages whre some photos from my granfather's writings are presented.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 23 Jun 08, 08:59
Egorka's Avatar
Egorka Egorka is offline
Colonel
Russia
Distinguished Service Award ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,914
Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erkki View Post
OT: I can´t promise anything but if you want I can take some pics of Boden:s fästning (fortress) for you, if I visit that place this summer.
Why not! Sounds nice!
Lets play spies...
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 23 Jun 08, 12:43
TRDG's Avatar
TRDG TRDG is offline
Lieutenant General
United_States
5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Real Name: Tom Young
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 3,699
TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100]
Thumbs up Cool

I'll check those out and wait until you get to those specific patrs when you post em!!

Cheers, good luck on the spy adventure!!

Tom
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 24 Jun 08, 21:15
Carl Schwamberg's Avatar
Carl Schwamberg Carl Schwamberg is offline
General of the Forums
United_States
ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 10,415
Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800]
Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800] Carl Schwamberg gives and gets respect [800]
Your Grandfather entered army service in April of 1944? That month my fathers aircraft squadron in Britian was attacking the French railroads and bridges in preperation for the attack on Normandy. Easy duty for him. The only time he heard from Fritz was the occasion night raid by a few bombers. He said the German aircraft enigens were so worn you could hear them misfire and run unevely from the ground. The air crew still suffered, but not so badly as previously as the enemy air defense in France was weakning.

Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 24 Jun 08 at 21:20..
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 25 Jun 08, 02:55
Egorka's Avatar
Egorka Egorka is offline
Colonel
Russia
Distinguished Service Award ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,914
Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
Your Grandfather entered army service in April of 1944?
Yes, 12th of april 1944.
Two days after town Odessa was liberated by RKKA.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 30 Jun 08, 23:46
TRDG's Avatar
TRDG TRDG is offline
Lieutenant General
United_States
5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Real Name: Tom Young
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 3,699
TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100] TRDG has demonstrated strength of character [100]
Thumbs up Thank you as well Slim Fan

It was interesting the comments of the picture-drawing of the German tank had to be redrawn as a KIA one, not one still "in action", but I see the propaganda value in that as well. Also the trains, regular and armoured ones left behind, as well as that very valuable tank cargo. I wonder if perhaps there was no gas by then to use them for some kind of defense? Or why they did'nt just crash the trains or blow them up, it must have been panic there before the germans pulled out I guess, or a very poor overall commander perhaps??

Cheers, great stuff here once again!! Thanks

Tom
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 02 Jul 08, 06:21
Egorka's Avatar
Egorka Egorka is offline
Colonel
Russia
Distinguished Service Award ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,914
Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100]
========================================
I am going to re-post all 10 parts corrected and edited by Slim Fan.
I asked AMVAS to delete the old parts.
So be aware of temporarely mess. After this point all memoir parts are new/edited.
========================================

Last edited by Egorka; 02 Jul 08 at 06:35..
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 02 Jul 08, 06:24
Egorka's Avatar
Egorka Egorka is offline
Colonel
Russia
Distinguished Service Award ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,914
Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100]
Here is the first part that I translated. I desided to start from the chapter where my grandad describes the last part of the ocupation of Odessa and how it was libirated, how he was enlisted into RKKA and later his srvice in Romania and Hungary.
This part of memoirs was writen in 1986
.
Quote:
- 1 -

10 April 1944 – A sacred day for me and the people of Odessa.
The summer 1942 passed quickly and unremarkably for all the occupants of our apartment. The news from the front that managed to reach us was grievous. German forces had reached the area of the Don River, and were approaching Stalingrad and the North Caucasus area. But Moscow still stood and gave hope to the Soviet people. The German, Austrian and Rumanian press was full of frontline reports proclaiming numerous victories. There were many photo-reports. There was a German magazine “Berliner Illustrated” which was especially known for its glorification of German victories. Looking at its pages I was particularly depressed by the photo-reports showing our POWs: pitiful, exhausted, badly clothed, hungry, ill… But the German troops were always shown fit and healthy, well equipped with automatic weapons, and riding motorcycles or personnel carriers. Everywhere death and destruction, burning towns and villages. The civilians also looked dull and grey. The reporters were clearly determined not to show Russia in the same light as German occupied Europe. All the time the photographs were filled with houses with straw roofs, people dressed in telogreika [a simple bulky overcoat] and ragged foot-wear, women wearing headscarves - such a contrast with the images of French, Belgian, Dutch, Norwegian and even Polish people. Very often and with obvious satisfaction pictures depicted impassable Russian roads: mud up to the wheel axels and on the soldier’s boots up to their knees. They flaunted images of the Russian winter showing their soldiers playing snowballs or football, or taking a snow bath. Also depicted was a panorama of Leningrad (they called it Petersburg) taken through binoculars with a caption proclaiming its imminent capture. The horrors of starvation in Leningrad were vividly presented in order to demonstrate how close the city was to surrender. In the summer of 1942 the main thorn in their side was Sevastopol, which, despite everything, continued to hold out. Can you image - Feodosia, Kerch, Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar in the German’s hands - but Sevastopol fights on. The people of Odessa knew that their fathers and sons were there somewhere in Sevastopol. [The Soviet troops from Odessa were evacuated to Sevastopol in October 1941]. They were holding Sevastopol as they previously held Odessa. But sad news came in the August when Sevastopol fell… The barges with Soviet POWs started arriving in Odessa. Once I witnessed the passage of a column of our sailors under Rumanian escort. It was already chilly as the autumn kicked in, but some of them were only wearing telniaghka [cotton blouse http://tricotaj.startex.ru/Img/big210.jpg ] and were barefoot. Some had bandages on their heads and hands. A pitiful sight. People who were accidental witnesses to it threw them bread and everything that was immediately to hand (it was near the city’s market – “Privoz”). It seems the POWs were taken to a camp located near the road to Mostdorf at the rope factory. Actually it has to be said of people of Odessa: if they saw POWs, which was frequently, being moved around in work gangs with Rumanian escorts, they engaged in various means to help them with provisions. I myself once had an opportunity to buy them bread and vegetables in the Privoz market in the city. It happened like this: 2-3 trucks with 3-5 people in them drove into the market and stopped in the crowded square. These were some of the camp’s POWs with their escort. People understood right away what was going on and helped as best they could. Bread and Salo [smoked or salted pork fat] and other products were thrown onto the trucks. The guards were indifferent, only concerned that the POWs should not escape. The women were especially generous. With tears in their eyes they did sacred work – saving their brothers, fathers, and husbands from starvation.

In the autumn of 1942 Germans, with they Italian and Rumanian satellites approached Stalingrad. Their armies seized Armavir, Piatigorsk and Nalchik. Their elite mountain troops reached the Caucasus passes and erected the fascist’s swastika on the top of the mountain Elbrus. The upper reaches of the Don and the cities of Voronezh, and Kharkov were under the heel of occupants. The people of blockaded Leningrad were suffering from terrible hunger. The ancient Russian lands of Pskov and Novgorod were in the fascist’s hands. Moscow still stood. The front line ran from Kaluga to Viazma to Gzhatsk. It was close to Moscow and threatening. Seemingly only a miracle could help! But a new Russain winter was coming – our historical ally. Germans, Italians, Rumanians, Spaniards and Hungarians were waiting for it in fear. They had already had the opportunity to experience it in 41-42, though their front position was not bad. Everyday their newspapers listed the tonnage of sunk American and British ships.
There were severe fighting going on in Stalingrad…
But then the attitude of the press radically changed… There were more articles describing troublesome overstretched supply routes, bad roads, and problems with communication lines. Frost descended and the 300,000 strong army led by Paulus was surrounded in Stalingrad. Of course without access to objective information it was difficult to comprehend the futility of their situation, but several soldiers [Rumanian soldiers] that came to “Chervony hutor” [a farm where my grandfather was working at the time and where a small Rumanian regiment was also stationed] told to their “colleagues” how they scarpered through the snowy steppes leaving heavy equipment and weapons behind. These rumours gave us hope and raised our spirits.
Even more, we rejoiced at the three-day long period of mourning for the defeated and captured Sixth Army in Stalingrad.

All through the winter of 42-43 the Germans suffered defeat after defeat at the front. They covered them up with statements about the necessity of shortening the front line - so called elastic defence. But they hoped to engage in a new offensive by the spring of 1943 and restore their gains. Yet it was more and more evident to me that the victory of Fascism had become a historical absurdity and simply not possible. Especially after the way in which Fascism had manifested itself in Russia - after so many innocent victims and so much human suffering. It also became clear that mankind and the Motherland could only be saved through conflict. Germans nervously grasped at any opportunity to increase their power. The traitor General Vlasov organised so called RLA (Russian Liberation Army), which was host to many traitors, cowards and other renegades. But it was all too late. Many millions of people had personally experienced the reality of Fascism – not how it was presented theoretically by the political classes but in practice.

The summer of 1943 had already begun but there was a gloomy calmness at the front. For the Germans this was an unusual situation. They did not hide the fact that a new strike was in preparation. But where? On 5th June 1943 German newspapers reported a new offensive near Belgorod and Kursk and that it was progressing as planned despite the ferocious resistance of the Soviet Army. One week later and the press had turned 180 degrees. They are again in elastic defence. But we already knew what it meant. Liberation of our land had begun en-mass.

7th October – Kiev is liberated. Fighting near Kremenchug and Kirovorgad. Rostov and Taganrog are liberated! The Donbas is liberated. But the Germans stubbornly hold the Don River near Dnepropetrovsk and Nikopol. I and my friends got hold of an old school geography map and every day after work we marked with dots the liberated towns and drew the probable front line. Once I found a partisan leaflet in a field near Mosdorf that contained front line information for November 1943 issued from the Soviet Central Information Bureau. Based on the leaflet we corrected our map.

In December I was chosen together with some other workers on our farm and other nearby villages for work on the ”airfield”, our new officially designated work being 3km away in the direction of the village of “Krivaya balka”. Soon we understood that it was a dummy airfield being built, i.e. its surface did not allow airplanes to land. It was only equipped with the electrical light signals for decoy to attract bombers away from the main airfield. There were about 15 of us and we had to dig a shallow trench for the electrical cable. We were supervised by 5 Germans from the organisation “Orgtodt”. Later we found that they were Austrians from Vienna. Unlike other Germans they were not harsh to us, they treated us well and hated Hitler. One of them once asked me to help him to sell some clothes that he had brought from Vienna. There were 3 shirts, 2 pullovers, 2 pairs of wool gloves and 2 saws, that had obviously come from the German army supplies. On Saturday he and I took tramway and went to the city’s market. We got out at Chumka station and he took me to the barracks where they lived. There was a radio on the table. What a wonderful opportunity! For the first time in 2 years since the war started I could touch a radio. Willy and two others did not have anything against me tuning to the Moscow frequency. I listened to the latest news. What a joy to hear voice of Levitan [the main news announcer on the Moscow radio] communicating the war news. I will never forget that radio news broadcast.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 02 Jul 08, 06:25
Egorka's Avatar
Egorka Egorka is offline
Colonel
Russia
Distinguished Service Award ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,914
Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100]
.
Quote:
- 2 -

We learned of the Soviet offensive at Leningrad and about which towns were liberated. There was even a report from the front line – a hearty welcome to our soldiers from liberated people. There were sounds of artillery thunder and machine guns in the background. It was so great and unusual to hear, that it felt like I had been liberated myself! I was glowing with joy. But the enemy was right in front of me. Wearing the German uniform. I was being incautious, but it came out well. It seems I was lucky this time too. The Austrians – simple working fellows were not Hitler fanatics. They jokingly asked me what I had heard. I explained them as well as I could using the common military slang, language that was a mix of Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and German. I managed to successfully fulfil their request and they were happy for the earned cash, and I got some money too. I kept as profit for my self one sporty looking shirt with two front pockets. The saws were purchased by Semen Vikentievich [the father of my grandfather’s girlfriend], but of greatest significance was that I got access to a radio. Next time I visited them I brought them a six-litre tin of sunflower oil which I bought in the market square using the Marks that I got from the sale. It was common practise for Germans to send home packages of vegetable oil and smoked pork fat. It seems their Fatherland was reasonably famished! I visited them when they asked me for something and used their radio as much as I could. Though soon this became impossible – I was caught by their officer – a German from Hamburg. The Austrians seemed to get a scolding and were probably reprimanded. Anyway they remain as good lads in my memory. Because of my sporty clothes with really broad trousers they jokingly called me “Frenchy”. This nickname stuck with me until the end of my time at Chervony Hutor farm. When Willy said it, it was particularly funny: “Hey, “Frenchy”, kom zu mi!” and so on. Jumping ahead a bit in time I want to say that we were dismissed after the New Year without finishing the work on the dummy airfield.
In the February – March 1944 single aircraft with red stars on them appeared more and more often. They were furiously attacked by the German AA batteries. They were IL-2 or Pe-2 planes and their purpose was reconnaissance. They approached most of the time from the sea and never bombed either the main or the dummy airfields. There were rumours that some attacks were carried on the German and Rumanian ships in the Black Sea and in the Odessa seaport but that they had met with little success. Odessa’s residents know of a case when a Soviet plane was shot down over the seaport and the pilot parachuted in the water. He was picked by a German speedboat but was already dead. This incident is remembered because the Rumanian administration arranged his funeral, openly, with a funeral procession to the graveyard. The local newspapers “Odesskaya gazeta” and “Molva” wrote about it. We understood the message: “Look, Russians, how fair we are. We respect even the enemy fallen in battle.”

Working on the farm, which was located next to the Odessa airfield, I was witness to numerous air crashes of German, Rumanian and even Italian military airplanes.
Once I was a witness to a rare incident: a midair collision of two airplanes on opposing courses. A German, a bomber Heinkel-111, was taking off while a Ju-52 was about to land. A huge fireball appeared in the sky in front of my eyes...
I also saw how well the newest German air giant, the Me-323, could burn. It was a six-engined super airplane that could lift up to 200 troops. When it took off it looked like it was hovering above the ground and the engine thunder shock everything around. It appeared at the beginning of 1944 and it was a real eye-catcher. And such a "handsome" once crashed at take off burying under its wreckage more than 200 Rumanian troops that were to be relocated to Crimea for resistance to the advance of the Soviet Army.

Once in the fall during a dense fog an Italian two-engine “Fiat” transport crashed. It hit the trees in the territory of our farm. It broke apart before bursting into flames. Later we found various goods it was carrying to Odessa. It was mainly twelve-calibre hunting rifle cartridges filled with №3 lead pellets in flashy boxes and cardboard shells. We collected them by the hundreds. Why they needed hunting cartridges we never knew. Maybe they were planning to hunt pheasants in Caucasus. I also then found a good piece of beaver fur from a pilot’s jacket. Olga made herself a winter hat out of it.

In the summer of 1942 a German three-engine transport Ju-52 made an emergency landing on our field behind the threshing machines. The plane looked unusual. It had a huge “ring” around the wings. It was meant to search for submerged submarines or anchor mines. It operated on the same principal as a hand held mine detector – induction. Everyone who worked in the field gathered to watch that wonder of German technology. Then, in order to disperse the crowd on the ground, the German pilot fired a long burst from his machinegun into the air. Only then did we understand what he wanted.

In the meantime the front line approached closer and closer to Odessa. I celebrated the New Year [1944] with the Golen family [the family of my grandfather’s girlfriend]. There was a modest dinner. The old ones went to sleep in the small room. Me and Olga sat on the big couch chatting and imagining what the New Year might bring, recalling the past. From behind the wall, in the neighbour’s apartment, we could hear voices. They were of older lads working in the city. Apart from their voices we could distinctly hear voices of Czechoslovaks from the Czech division in the German’s service. They had recently arrived in Odessa and there was a rumour that many of their soldiers and officers had deserted to the Red Army. The Germans did not trust them anymore and kept them away from the front line. It was apparent that the young company had gathered to celebrate New Year 1944. A gramophone played and there was more and more noise coming from behind the wall after the first wine glasses had been raised. At midnight there were rifle shots and the sky was light by signal flares. We could hear in the neighbouring apartment a toast being raised for victory and for peace. Then they sang the song about the cruiser “Varyag”: “All on deck, comrades, all on deck, This is our last decisive battle…” And I understood that those Czechs and our guys are all good lads, our people.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links

  #41  
Old 02 Jul 08, 06:26
Egorka's Avatar
Egorka Egorka is offline
Colonel
Russia
Distinguished Service Award ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,914
Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100]
.
Quote:
- 3 -

In January - February the Rumanians started to evacuate all the valuable equipment from Odessa: machinery, lathes, trucks and tramway carriages. It was apparent that they were preparing to surrender the town. Many German servicemen and sailors appeared in the town. From March I stopped going to the Farm. In any case the only jobs they had were as watchmen or looking after the cattle. All the real jobs were taken by the full-time employees. Our team leader, Lihidchenko, was drunk all the time celebrating his son’s return. The son came back in a German uniform. Apparently as early as 1942 he had been captured and then signed up to Vlasov’s army. The father, Lihidchenko, could not look people in the eye, he was so ashamed for his son. Vera, Nadezhda, Luba and Sophia openly scolded their brother for his betrayal. He left soon afterwards, disappearing as quick as he materialised.
At the end of March 1944 a new order was issued in the city – all civil authority was to be transferred to German administration and there was to be the imposition of a curfew. It was prohibited to wander about without permission from 20:00 till 07:00. For any disobedience – execution. On leaving the town the Rumanian office gave us some good advice – all windows should be covered by shutters and doors should not be locked…
The town filled with refugees. There were locally recruited policemen from the Rostov region, Zaporozhie region, from Nikopol, Militopol and Kuban. There were many people who, from their appearance, seemed to be from the Caucasus. All the Cossack units were dressed in German uniforms with the traditional burka [lamb’s wool overcoat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burka ] and of course papaha [lamb’s wool hat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papaha ]. Many had the traditional dagger attached to their belts [ http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ho/10/...d_81.1.599.htm ]. Odessa’s residents had already heard from previous refugees many stories that the worst cut-throats were the Cossacks from Caucasus area. They would cordon off whole areas and force everyone to flee west. All those who stayed behind would be shot without any investigation of their circumstances. These Cossacks were feared above all others. On the third station of the “Big Fountain“ there was a new three-storey school. It appeared to be stuffed with clothes collected from all over Europe after the extermination of French, Belgians, Poles, Jews, Czechs and Slovaks. These Cossack-policemen started to sell or barter the clothes. Some of the clothes had dried blood on them, some had the Star of David – the six-pointed sign that can be seen on the Israel flag today. The clothes were good and fashionable and the Cossacks and Vlasovists sold the stolen goods with little hesitation.
The Gestapo ruled the town now. Once on Preobrazhenskaya Street I witnessed how a German field gendarme escorted a convoy of German soldiers, actually they seemed to me just people dressed in German uniforms. They moved slowly, sad, tired and hungry. This made a deep impression on me. I guess they were deserters about to face a tough future. It was known that Fascists treated such people harshly. “Such beast they are – they do not even spare their own” – such I was thinking back then – “How can they then find compassion towards the Russian people”.
Quite frequently one could see on a café or a pub door the sign – “Germans Only”. This sign, which evoked burning hatred towards the occupants from Russians and Ukrainians, could also be found on the tramway carriages, in the train station waiting hall, and the toilets. The Germans had their own night cabaret “Deutsche Ecke”. Obviously entry for Russians was prohibited. It was strange that even the toilets were divided into areas. One for the honourable officers, the other for the ordinary German soldiers.
There was another unexpected meeting which I want to relate. The Rumanians gradually ran away taking with them everything that could be taken. The town was filling with German rear units and hospitals. Horse drawn caravans filled with German collaborators, policemen and such with their families kept passing through the town.
Once Olga brought home her school mate Verka Lob and her sister. They had met in the Agro technical Institute where Olga was still studying. But the current classes had been cancelled because of the Rumanian administration’s evacuation. Verka was a saucy girl in our student group and personally for me was not at all attractive. Her sister Katia, two years younger, unlike Verka was exceptionally beautiful, very slender and pleasing to the eye. Olga and I knew that Verka had lived during the occupation in the town of Kremechug. It was a surprising meeting there at the institute where Verka and Katia had gone in the hope of meeting someone they knew… We sat at a tabled and served tea. It seems that they fled Kremenchug with a German support regiment where they worked as secretaries. Their behaviour, the tone of their talk, their laughter and jokes, their German-Russian military jargon, their barrack humour – all that spoke of their decaying moral standards. They were open about their love affairs with German officers. They had no regrets whatsoever that they had fled to the West with the Germans. Katia’s speech was especially rich with German oaths and coarse language. It was so striking and contradicted so much about her attractive appearance that it was difficult to believe. “German bed warmers” – was our conclusion after they left.
Three days later there was a knock on the door. It was Verka. Big covered trucks were outside our building. Verka said that they were moving further west. Olga and I went out onto the street. In one of the cabins Katia was sitting waving at us. Destiny had given another chance to see them, our schoolmates. For the last time… Later I often recalled that meeting, trying to image what became of them after the war, if they even managed to stay alive. I would not want to be alive if I were them.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 02 Jul 08, 06:28
Egorka's Avatar
Egorka Egorka is offline
Colonel
Russia
Distinguished Service Award ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,914
Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100]
.
Quote:
- 4 -

The last days of March 1944 were sunny and warm. The snow had vanished everywhere. The granite roadway on the “Kulikovo pole” was dry, but dusty from masses of retreating Wehrmacht trucks and the horse carriages. The city’s inhabitants lurked in their hiding places expecting something. The city market was empty and deserted.

Semen Vikentievich and Fenja Ivanovna [parents of my my grandfather’s girlfriend] had already in February slaughtered their piglet, which was previously kept in the shower room of the apartment. Now the salted meet and salo [salted or smocked pig fat] was much appreciated. Fenja Ivanovna was a good cook. I especially liked her mamaliga [ “A dish made out of yellow maize. It is better known to the rest of the world in its Italian form, polenta.” ], which replaced bread and was our main ration at that time. She had a special cast iron pot for that. Corn flour was dropped into boiling water that was being vigorously stirred with a wooden stick. Then the pot was covered with a piece of winter clothing for “stewing”. Meanwhile chopped onions with salo were fried in a pan. Mamaliga was served up on plates and was generously covered with the fried onions. It was delicious!

April 1944 was windy and rainy. Sometimes it was snowy. All sorts of wild rumours were flying about. Some claimed that our forces had liberated Nikolaev. Others suggested that the Russians had already captured the station at Razdelnoe and that the town of Tiraspol was just about to be liberated. It was believable that the RKKA had taken Nikolaev. It was logical from the military point of view. The railway station at Razdelnoe was the main railway juncture of the German and Rumanian retreat routes out of Odessa and the whole Black Sea coast area. It was too much to hope for. People felt uneasy thinking what the occupier might do to the civilians of the town. The fate of Krasnodar, Rostov, Marioupol, the small and big towns of Donbass region showed that before a siege began, all the inhabitants were forced to leave. Vlasov’s army and the military units from Caucasus and Middle Asia were made responsible for enforcing this order. It scared the inhabitants a great deal. The rumours of their brutality were widespread and terrifying. Everyone hiding, if found, would be killed on the spot; they would throw a grenade into house cellars. Nonetheless, I decided to set up a hiding place. In our house each apartment had a designated cellar space for storing firewood. In our cubicle I arranged the firewood in such a manner that there would be a hiding place between the firewood and the back wall. There was room for only one person to lie down. I also stashed some food there for 3-5 days (bread, salo and water). I practiced lying in my hole, but could not do it for more than an hour without having to move. The only way to get in was to slide in feet first and then mask the entrance with my hands. Dark, humid and silent: like a grave. Beside me was a ceramic sewage pipe laid in the cellar and giving off a stench. I decided it would be used only as the last resort, so I went to explore the building’s garret. There was a ladder on the outer wall of the building on the yard side. Luckily for me it was located just beside our kitchen window. I could just open the window and step directly from the windowsill to the metal ladder steps. The disadvantage was that the ladder was located in the yard of the neighbouring building and if any strangers saw me climbing it, it could arouse their suspicions. Despite that, one early morning I climbed the ladder for the purpose of reconnaissance. I quickly reached the roof and got into the garret through the dormer-window. It was dark and empty inside. When the daylight came in I could only see some pillars holding the roof and many chimneys. One of the dormer-windows was facing the city centre and the Kulikovo field. Through that window there was a good view over the central railway station, the last tramway station of the “Big Fountain” line and to Kanatnaya Street in the direction of the sea port. I could see that there were many fires in the city, especially in the sea port area. From time to time explosions could be heard. Then incendiaries began the annihilation of the important city establishments… For my self I decided that this place was better than laying in a humid, stinky hole in the cellar.

What was going on in the city? We all were interested to know, but everyone was afraid to go outside. My curiosity was so intense that despite Olga’s attempts to reason me, I decided to get to the city centre and sea port and find out what was happening. From a common sense point of view it was a very dangerous thing for me to do. I could attract the attention of a German patrol: a young Russian male, without a travel permit and with no apparent reason to be wandering around the city… Being detained for investigation would mean certain death… Looking back, I realise that I acted recklessly. By good fortune, my luck held; though, whenever I saw a patrol I would try to go around it. There were some pedestrians about, but only few. Old women would hurry off somewhere, often accompanying children. There were also men (probably workers) with travel permits.
Soon I reached the Richelieu monument on Primorsky Boulevard, just next to the “Potemkin Stairs”. In the port speedboats were going back and forth and there were many ships and barges. There was fire on a ship in the repair dock.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 02 Jul 08, 06:28
Egorka's Avatar
Egorka Egorka is offline
Colonel
Russia
Distinguished Service Award ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,914
Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100]
.
Quote:
- 5 -

The buildings that faced the “Potemkin Stairs” and Richelieu monument were enclosed in barbed wire and were secured by German guards. Russian and Ukrainian faces stared from all of the windows of those three-storey houses. The windows were without glass (probably blown out by the explosions in the seaport). It was said that the men had been brought on barges from Crimea and were waiting for a decision on their fate. Later I learned that many of them died at sea in locked barge holds as they were being transported to the Rumanian seaport of Constanta. Looking back, I think I could have quite easily been detained right there on the boulevard and without more ado been thrown into that temporary camp for those Russian boys! Back then I realised that I should immediately take to my heels and, God willing, avoid any patrols. It seems I was born lucky and was spared on that occasion too.
The same day the flow of fleeing truck columns and separate groups of German soldiers changed. Now they would ask how to get to the road to Ovidiopol and Akkerman. Seems it was true that the railway junction at Razdelnoe was closed for them now and they were trying to escape by the only remaining road along the coast.

In the evening Semen Vikentievich had three German soldiers billeted on him for the night. One of them, a warrant officer [Feldwebel ], asked in broken Russian for some food. He took out a bottle of schnapps, hardtack and what appeared to be a can of jam. Also a loaf of bread. Everything was laid on the table. Fenja Ivanovna put on the table rest of the borsch, and set up a tea kettle. They ate and drank alone and did not invite their hosts to the table. Later they took the apartment’s main and largest room for the night. Before bed time the warrant officer took out his Parabellum [ Luger P08 pistol ] and put under the pillow on the couch. The other two lay on the floor on the mattresses. I had to settle somehow in the small room next to an unused lathe. It was apparent that they were on the run by themselves. In the morning they asked for directions to Ovidiopol. Why? It must mean that there is no escape for them through Razdelnoe!

Throughout the night there was a great deal of truck and armoured carrier traffic in the city. It moved mainly on two roads: the “Big Fountain” road and Lystdorf Road. We heard explosions and the machinegun fire. The morning of 10th April 1944 came. It was unusually quiet, though there were occasional explosions and in some places fires continued to burn for over a week. In the grey light of an early morning I climbed to the buildings garret to see what is going on in the city. In the seaport something was repeatedly exploding and dark thick smoke climbed into the sky. I was attracted by firelight on the pillars. It came through another dormer-window. At first I thought our building was on fire. Are we burning? It might be expected because our building was marked with cross by the incendiary and demolition detachment. Everyone was afraid of it and all the tenants kept a watchful eye. But soon I realised that it was a building on the other side of the street that was burning. During the last days it was occupied by some German rear military organisation. It was apparent that they had set the building on fire after leaving it.

My attention was drawn to a motorcycle with side-car, which was approaching rapidly from the direction of railway station, crossing the Kulikovo field. As it approached I could see that there were two on the motorcycle; Germans soldiers wearing mackintoshes and helmets drove. An officer in greatcoat and service cap sat in the sidecar. He was asleep, head down. A machinegun was attached to the sidecar. I regretted that I did not have a weapon. What a perfect target! But the motorcycle turned into Kfnftnaya Street and I lost sight of it.
I sat in the garret for more than two hours. It was already daylight, but there were no people to be seen on the Kulikovo field. What had happened? Where were the Germans? I got the impression that Odessa has been left by all the rear German units and the field units were about to move in instead. They would fight to defend the city. It was nearly 09:00. The neighbouring building had already stopped burning and was just smouldering. I could not see flames anymore but the smoke still got in through the window.

I leaned out of the window in order to see better what was going in front of our house and accidentally noticed on the opposite side of the Pirogovskaya and Kanatnaya Streets three soldiers in green greatcoats. One of them had a box with antenna on his back. No big deal to realise that it was a portable radio transmitter. The other soldier held a microphone and talked to someone. All three had shoulder marks, but their heads are covered with, so known and dear to Russians, Ushankas made of artificial fur. Who were they? I wished so much that they were our Soviet soldiers. But why do they have green greatcoats like Rumanian troops? Why with shoulder marks? Well, I had heard that new uniforms for commanders had been introduced into the RKKA, including shoulder marks, but I thought it was just talk. I had never seen a Red Army soldier with shoulder marks. From some imperceptible signs, from their boots, from the way they acted on the void streets of Odessa, I intuitively sensed: Russians!
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 02 Jul 08, 06:29
Egorka's Avatar
Egorka Egorka is offline
Colonel
Russia
Distinguished Service Award ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,914
Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100]
.
Quote:
- 6 -

I rolled head over heals down the stairs into the yard. Through the fence I watched them again. All doubts disappeared. Ours! But what if this was a trap? Several women from the next house run into the street. Then more and more people come out and rush to the first Soviet soldiers. Arms and kisses, tears on their eyes. Soon several, unusually looking for us, trucks approached. These were “Studebakers”. One of them was towing a cannon. The soldiers jumped out of the vehicles. Something of a spontaneous rally occured on the spot around our liberators. The women treated the tired and dusty soldiers to meat rissoles and wine brought in a kettle. Everyone was rejoicing and the joy was unbounded. It occurred to everyone that the soldiers were either very young or old men, dressed mainly in boots with puttees over them. Some of them were wearing thin aged grey greatcoats. But the Odessits did not pay any attention to that – they saw hero-liberators before them. A captain with the Order of the Red Star on his chest answered questions. I managed to squeeze myself through and asked him where and why he was given the decoration. His answer was somewhat unexpected: “In Crimea, for the partisan activity.”
Me: “How come?”
“I was in partisan movement last year, was wounded and evacuated by plane to the “big land”, spend time in hospital” – was his answer.
Yes, it was something to think over.
Suddenly we heard several machine gun bursts from a car that sped rapidly along Kanatnaya Street from the “Big Fountain” direction… The crowd immediately dispersed from the road crossing. During the commotion the car rushed by the crossing and disappeared in the direction of the seaport. The captain gave a belated order and the soldiers quickly unhooked the cannon and set it up facing the direction where the rushing car came from. Soon whole Kulikovo field was covered with trucks and talking, smoking soldiers.

How we had waited for that day! Just that morning we had been worried by the uncertainty of the upcoming day, afraid of furious fighting in the city. And then, suddenly, the joy of freedom and the feeling of oppression lifted from our shoulders…
The fire in the neighbouring house had not picked up. Fleeing from Odessa the Germans did not want to waste gasoline. That old building had a large hall from which a big marble staircase led up to the second floor. That is where the Germans had piled some chairs, tables, and some papers and set them alight. The furniture had burned out but the building self did not catch fire. Not far from the house, on the tramway tracks stood a German armoured personnel carrier abandoned during the night. The reason was apparent – one of the tracks had broken. Our house was chosen to be headquarters of one of the RKKA detachments. It met all the requirements for the purpose. First of all it stood on the corner, providing a good overview to the Kulikovo field and all the trucks and carts on it. Secondly it could be accessed from all four directions and it location could easily identified from a verbal description. In the evening a lieutenant brought whole platoon for lodging. They moved quickly, like they were in their own house, settled in the first room, the kitchen and even the little working room. The sergeant-major made him self comfortable on “my” couch. The soldiers – on the floor. They lay on their greatcoats and put their backpacks under their heads. The transportable machine gun and the rifles were put in the corner. Their submachine guns, PPSh, were next to them. While they washed themselves and their clothes, Fenja Ivanovna cooked up a big pot of borsch soup and corn-mamaliga. A large bottle of grape wine was produced. A few soldiers were sent off by the sergeant-major to some task (I think they had to guard Kulikovo field).

Just as we sat at the dining table a patrol brought in three detained German soldiers. The dining stopped, but the table was served and the plates are waiting. The Germans, one of them was a corporal, had already overcome the first moment of fear. They stood silently with heads down. One of them had a nervous tremor. It was very apparent when they all were sat at the served table. His trembling was so severe that whenever his legs or hands touched the table we could hear the clatter of crockery. But he could not help himself. Even the corporal passed some rude remark about it. It was Fenja Ivanonvna who by the right of the hostess suggested inviting the Germans to the table. The sergeant-major had no objection. And so the enemy, so recently involved in the fighting, sat at the same table. After emptying glasses with red wine (the Germans were not offered wine) they engaged the borsch, food and at the same time interrogation of the prisoners. Or rather to say questioning. The trembling German was the youngest, maybe 18 years old or so. From his words, which I and Olga translated, it transpired that he was serving as a medic and was relocated to the front two months earlier. Two others looked older, but not more than 40 years of age. The corporal was tall, slender and neat. Even in captivity in front of our solders he looked like clean, neat intellectual. Both of them were drivers and served in a truck regiment [автобат = truck battalion]. Gradually the prisoners calmed down and the sergeant-major ordered two soldiers to escort them to the POW assembly point of the division…

Only now could we sit at the table with the sergeant-major and two other soldiers. We filled our glasses with wine and expressed our gratitude to our liberators.
Unwillingly we started talking about the Russian soul in connection to the fact that the Germans were undeservedly allowed at the table instead of being starved or killed by the raging mob. The sergeant-major first took me for the host’s son, but he was pleased when he found that I was from Siberia and learned that my parents live in the Kurgan region. He called me his “fellow countryman”, though he himself was from Petropavlovsk. But I could see on their faces that they were wondering how come I was not in the army, but instead lived with a young girl, while they shed their blood and through the bitter cold and mud had to carry their burden. “Why?” – could I read it in their eyes. I understood immediately and without a word showed them my “hammer and sickle” passport and the “discharge from the military duty”, which was issued to me in 1938 by the Military Recruitment Centre in my home town of Petuhovo. This convinced them but they assured me that nowadays I would be found to be in a suitable medical condition for active service.

The sergeant-major gave me a postcard on which I wrote to my parents my first message from the liberated Odessa. It was 10th April 1944. I wanted to let my mama and papa to know that I was well and in good health and hoped to see them soon. The sergeant-major took the postcard and said he would send it via his field post. I am grateful to him. He did not deceive me. That postcard actually reached my parents. My mother could not believe her luck, that I was alive and well… That is how she later described the day that she marked in the calendar – 10th April 1944.

My mother told me that she often saw me in her dreams; 1941, 1942, 1943, especially in winter time, knocking on the window of their little house on the Soviet street. Sometimes she saw me as a distant pedestrian, barely walking and dressed, for some reason, in raincoat with hood over my head.
“In those minutes I prayed to God he would save you,” she said. And God granted her wish.

Now after all those years I regret I did not write down the names of the soldiers who have every right to be called my liberators. I still remember them to this day…
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 02 Jul 08, 06:30
Egorka's Avatar
Egorka Egorka is offline
Colonel
Russia
Distinguished Service Award ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,914
Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100] Egorka has demonstrated strength of character [100]
.
Quote:
- 7 -

“My dear Odessa faded into the fog…”
The next day, 11th April 1944, my life turned around. The sergeant-major brought a stack of Moscow newspapers early in the morning. They told of the successful Soviet offensive in the Crimea, about liberation of Odessa and many other settlements in the Odessa region. I eagerly read “Pravda”, “Red Star”, and other papers. I read about the orders of the supreme commander I.V.Stalin about the awarding of honour names to the regiments, divisions and armies, about the artillery salute salvos in honour of liberation of the cities, and of many other things. I read everything from the first word to the very last. For almost three years I did not have a Soviet newspaper in my hands, it seems I missed them.

The day started with information that some Germans had been shot in the yard of the house located close to the Agrarian Institute. Some teenagers 15-16 year of age, armed with rifles left behind by fleeing Germans and Rumanians, sought out the Germans hiding in garrets and cellars and took the reprisal into their own hands. Seven corpses of Germans executed in this manner were discovered, but their executioners were never found. I was thinking that “our” Germans were lucky to fall in to the hands of such guys (the RKKA soldiers lodging in the apartment). It was not without reason that one German had been trembling… he was lucky.

I was impatient to see the centre of the city. So, right after lunch, I rushed there. The first thing that caught my eye was that the soldiers exchanged wristwatches. It was done by inviting other soldiers by just saying: “Lets barter without a peek”. Apparently there was a captured truck with a case in it full of wristwatches. They had labels with the “Fritz’s” names on them. I do not know for sure, but I think they were collected to be returned to the families or perhaps to be repaired. The fact is that the watches were used, not new. A soldier standing in back of the truck was giving them left and right to everyone who would reach out. I got one that was not working…

Even from a distance it was apparent that the central railway station had been damaged by explosions. All the windows were knocked out; the left wing of the building was completely in ruins. In the yard in front of the station there was some kind of commotion. Several soldiers were arranging something resembling a gallows. Could it really be for an execution? The gallows were ready with a noose made of telephone cable. Only now I noticed an open truck parked next to the station. In it there were two soldiers armed with submachine guns watching over a sitting Rumanian soldier. Only his head in a Rumanian uniform cap was visible to me. Then the truck drove under the gallows. The sides of the trucks body were opened and the Rumanian soldier made to stand up… An officer announced an order which among other stated: “For marauding and rape of Soviet women”. The noose was fastened around his neck and the truck drove forward… Later while returning from the city I again approached the still hanging corps. Somebody had already taken the boots from his feet. His head leaned to the side, green snot hanging from his nose… It was a disgusting scene to look at.

I walked to the centre along the Pushkinskaya Street. A column of German and Rumanian prisoners of war was being escorted in the other direction. Many of the city’s inhabitants watched this escort and rightfully reviled them… Some individuals even managed to kick them or hit them with a stick, though the escort did not allow reprisals.

When I reached “Primorsky Boulevard” I was astonished by the devastation. The big refrigerator building was demolished. The grain elevator was destroyed and emitting smoke from the burning grain. The hoisting cranes and the piers were blown up too. Right there I noticed a group of generals surveyed the seaport from the height of the boulevard and were chatting about something. I could hear the words of regret that it was not possible to save the grain in the grain elevator… It was in such great need in the country…

But on the other hand the building of the famous Odessa Opera House survived, even though it was said to be mined and prepared for demolition. It was saved by some underground resistance people who had managed to remove the detonators in time. Many streets had all of the telephone cable wells blown up. The sewerage and water wells suffered the same fate. Some large administrative buildings were burned out… But as a whole, Odessa remained just as when it was abandoned by the Red Army in 1941. The weather was wonderful and sunny and all the citizens were roaming the streets.

The next day the orders of the city’s commandant were hung on the street: “All males aged 18 to 55 are to report to the military registration and enlistment office in their district, having with them an extra set of clothes, a spoon, a mug and five days provisions.” My military registration and enlistment office for the Kaganovich district was very close to our house. Just a short walk across “Kulikovo field”. It was located in our institute building, the address was 13 Chizhikova Street. That used to be our map and plan drawing workshop as well storage for the geodesic instruments. Now it was occupied by the military registration and enlistment office. Me and Olga decided to go there and first just take a look around. The public garden next to the building was already full of people. There were not only men present, but even more women and children. They saw off to the war their fathers, husbands and sons… Tears and laughter – everything mixed. But in general it was a sad occasion for every family, for every man. Every two or three hours, a 200-250 man strong columns of “new conscripts” led by a few sergeants would march away. They allegedly were going to Berezovka located 50-60km north of Odessa. A reserve regiment of the Third Ukrainian Front was stationed there. The medical exam and other check were also conducted there.

I put everything required into my back sack and said goodbye to Semen Vikentievich and Fenja Ivanovna and to the house warden. Me and Olga went to the office. We spent half a day waiting for our turn. We talked about many things, but did not touch on the subject of our personal affairs. And then I entered the military office. On the second floor, where we previously had a dressing room, the office officials were sitting behind desks. After my introduction they wrote down my full name, date and place of birth and so on. They took my documents and, barely opening them, threw them on a pile of similar passports and the military registration cards in the corner of the room. I was astonished at that. I had spent so much effort preserving and keeping all my documents intact during the occupation, since only my documents could protect me from some of the life’s problems, which were more than enough in war time. A doctor in a white coat asked me if I had any health problems. I told him about my physical shortcomings, which were the reason for me being free for military duty before the war. He examined my leg and asked me to squat several times. “Fit for non-frontline service” – was his conclusion. Then I had to wait for some time until there could be assembled a group of 200 new recruits. Outside once again we quickly assumed a formation. Olga and I kissed each other and the command “Forward!” was given and our disorderly ranks silently moved across the city towards the Peresip district. Our first stop was on the road along side the Hadzhibey Estuary. Among us were people of different ages and health conditions. Our column occasionally stretched out too far and the sergeants would issue reprimands, to put it politely, to the ones at the end. Unlike some among us, I was not afraid of the military service …

When our column reached its highest point I could see the plains stretching ahead to the horizon. And behind us, still in sight, was sweet Odessa, so dear to me. Farwell, dear city!

The sun was already about to set when we reached a big settlement and halted on its outskirts. White huts of daub and wattle were abandoned. It was not clear if the inhabitants had been deported by the Germans or whether it had been a German settlement whose occupants had fled to the West. In half a day we had covered not more than 20km but were, nonetheless, exhausted. Our officers instructed us to use several of the huts as temporary accommodation. Others before us had already covered the clay floors with straw. It seems that the previous groups had stayed overnight here and had taken care of it. Water was drawn from a well. Some of us drank thirstily, other washed themselves, but mostly people just fell on the heaps of straw and snatched a mouthful of whatever they had to eat. Each hut had to come up with an orderly for guard duty. That is how the first night passed. The next morning when it was barely light we heard the command: “Assume formation!” Roll call was conducted and soon our column moved again. Around noon we reached a wide macadam road. The sides of the road were covered with carts, boxes, burnt-out German cars and, sometimes, armoured personal carriers and, even, tanks. The whole road and roadsides surface was eroded by ruts left by heavy trucks. It was evident that Germans had used this road to flee and had abandoned behind everything that was slowing them down. A long halt was ordered for the lunch break. Studebaker trucks infrequently drove by in both directions. The army headquarters, located we had heard in Berezovka, were 15km away, i.e. not more than 3 hours marching.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Please bookmark this thread if you enjoyed it!


Thread Tools
Display Modes



Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:46.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.