In my childhood, a great event was the one that had ended some twenty years before, that was World War II. And here the honourable interviewer is late for some fourteen years. If he had addressed those questions to my father, who was a soldier of the 19th division, then those stories could have been very long. I have heard all those stories a hundred times, by I, since he served in that legion, I’ll tell you one story that was told to me by a soldier of the Russian army, who had fought to Berlin. His name was Rihards Pavilons; I don’t know whether he’s still alive, if he was, he might affirm that the story is true.
The story goes that in Berlin, officially or not, but it was, in fact, allowed for sort of robbery by the victors, so he said. During the first month, the whole company (2/3) got sick with gonorrhoea or syphilis. That was one point. But the other, he said, that the cleverest thing that people did, everybody wanted to rob and bring something home. Some Russian soldier was walking around with ten watches on his wrist; but he said, the smartest, obviously, were those who had got needles somewhere in shops. Needles take up very little space. But after the war, when the whole industry in Russia was, of course, directed towards military production, nobody thought about producing needles, and their value after the war was huge. Therefore, those soldiers’, who had returned from Germany with a bag full of needles, their profit was immense, in comparison with that material and so on.