And we left Mordovia for Stalingrad. We were going, frankly speaking, during a month. We spent the entire month on the way there. As we arrived, the Germans were already rounded up at Stalingrad, so I haven’t been to Stalingrad. But we ended up outside of the external ring, and prevented Manstein there, that tried to get in to Pauls. And at that time and when being at that place we were all 24 years; and here at school, all of us, we all were the members of the Komsomol. They didn’t take those who were under 18. The drafted into the military just those who were born in 1924, but the war claimed lives of the born in 1924; according to the all data, only 3 of 100 persons survived. I mean not by now but during that time. All the others were killed. So that, there were good warriors. But we got to the front, well, we fought; well, there was blood, sweat, gases at the front. You know, I have a peculiar way this all happened. When I got to the front again after being wounded, I was much more scared. And the first time I wasn’t. I remember the first time I was happy lying in a fighting hole and watching the night sky. Beautiful headlights, rocketries. Wow! I watched like a boy. Lord, forbid fighting! Lord, forbid! Perhaps, there is nothing worse.
My grandfather was an operator. He also was born in 1924.
An operator? He also seized. If only he was down, at the military formations.
No, he wasn’t. He was crawling.
The Germans located him already, used machine-guns, what are you to do. I did like the others. Well, we fought. We fought and came up to Ukraine.
Did you have good meals at the front? Better than in the manufactory?
What do you mean having meals. We had meals provided by the Americans there. We could see only American food. Tinned meat.
Did you have field kitchens?
Erm, dear! No, indeed. Of course, when you are holding the line, you have it. But if you are conducting an attack. Twice I was conducting an attack, what kind of kitchen will follow you! No way! It used to be as the following. We were turning the enemy out. So here is the troop of for example 100 people, the battle was over, and only 50-30 people stayed alive, there was no one to fight again, so they collected all the people, cooks, it didn’t matter who is who, one has to fight and attack, do you understand. I was there twice, exactly at the defense, almost without sitting out.
Researcher: Наталья Иващенко, кандидат исторических наук, ГрГУ им. Я. Купалы, Светлана Силова, кандидат исторических наук, доцент, ГрГУ им. Я. Купалы