Victory in Human Stories, Day by Day Leading to the 60th Anniversary
of Victory in the 1941 – 1945 Great Patriotic War
RIA NOVOSTI Project Special) — As recorded on the day of March
07th, 1945 from the Soviet Information Bureau–On March 7, the
2nd Belarussian Front forces captured the towns of Gniew (Mewe),
Stargard (Preussisch Stargard), a major German strongpoint en
route to Danzig, and took another 200-plus settlements, among
which are Zaaben, Pinschin, Goch Stublau, Koschmin, Logutken,
Liniewo, Olpuch, Dzimianen, Sommin, Reckow, Luben, Treblin, Barten,
Zollbruck, Alt Bewersdorf, Alt Schlawin, Damshagen and Neuwasser.
March 7, the advancing 1st Belarussian Front forces captured the
settlements of Gollnow, Stepenitz and Massow, key German strongpoints
en route to Stettin, and also fought for and occupied upwards
of another 50 settlements, to include Walddiwenow, Fritzow, Jassow,
Latzig, Sager, Paulsdorf, Schutzendorf and Amalienhof.
forces finished terminating the enemy’s grouping south of
the town of Schivelbein. Under preliminary estimations, 8,000-plus
German soldiers and officers were captured in the site, as well
as lots of weapons and military property. The German 10th Army
Corps commander, Lt.-Gen. Krappe, and his staff were among the
On March 7,
the 2nd Ukrainian Front forces, resisting the enemy in difficult
wooded mountainous terrain in the Carpathian line, took the town
of Banska Stiavnica in Czechoslovakia, a major German strongpoint,
and also the settlements of Sasa, Babina, Kolpachy, Hodrusa and
northeast and south of Lake Balaton, the enemy’s infantry
and armor heavy attacks were turned by the Soviet forces.
operations and local fighting continued on other fronts.
tanks were damaged and destroyed and 29 enemy aircraft were downed
on March 6.
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Frontline Album / Love Under Fire
personal story by Irina Demchenko is an excerpt from RIA Novosti’s
Project — a Special dedicated to Heroes of WW II
On May 9, 1946
they walked around Yerevan holding hands and laughing at every joke.
They were in a wonderful mood. They were looking for a registry
office in the Stalin district of the city. In 1946, May 9 was a
regular, working day. It only became a day-off in 1964. The couple
wanted to get married on this great day and wanted the name of Stalin
to be stamped on their passports.
Demchenko and Emma Bakanova
Family Photo / RIA Novosti Photo
In 1946, she
was 20 and he was 26. She was a librarian at a Party school and
he was a lieutenant and a correspondent for the local newspaper
of the border troops.
were my parents. They found the registry office and were married
on May 9, 1946. Since then we have celebrated May 9 as Victory
Day and the birthday of our family.
kept her wedding dress, which she sewed herself from white silk.
Today, this hourglass dress looks stylish with its numerous buttons
and a flared skirt. My father wore his white parade uniform on
their wedding day.
party was held on May 25, 1946. On that day a terrible flood hit
the mountains near Yerevan and the heads of frontier outposts
and other military commanders who were invited to the party had
to take many telephone calls about secret facilities and outposts
destroyed by the water and mudflows. The lights went off and neighbors
brought candles and oil lamps to the wedding party of Grigory
Demchenko and Emma Bakanova. Some people said it was not very
good to get married in May, especially in such circumstances,
as it might bring bad luck.
They had known
each other for two weeks before they married. My father was the
son of a village smith from the Stavropol steppes. He was educated
as a schoolteacher and worked as a war correspondent. My mother
was a daughter of a high-ranking officer, a beautiful girl and
an excellent student. She left medical university because she
was afraid of corpses. They lived happily for 56 years and died
in one year.
was 15 when the war began. She was in the eighth grade and studied
in the center of Kiev. Her stepfather was a serviceman and her
mother a Party official. They left Kiev in one of the last trains
when the city was already being bombed. My mother and her elder
sister packed everything, first of all, editions of Gorky, Mayakovsky,
Pushkin and Ostrovsky, for the evacuation. They thought the evacuation
would last for a few months and so did not take many warm clothes.
No one then thought they would be leaving for the winter.
evacuated to the Ural region where my mother went to school again
and her sister, Maya, completed an English course and went to
the front as an interpreter.
vacations and after school my mother worked as a secretary at
a detention camp of German internees in the Volga region. She
later described the cruelty and injustice these “Russian
Germans” had been subjected to during the war.
was 21 when the war broke out. He had graduated from a teacher
training college and was deferred from the draft. However, after
Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939 and the subsequent annexation
of western Ukraine and Byelorussia to the Soviet Union, a reserve
draft began. My father was dispatched to serve in the border troops
in Armenia on the Soviet-Iranian border. He was to have been demobilized
in the fall of 1941 but for obvious reasons this did not happen.
As a result, my father served in the army for 30 years.
He often recollected
June 21, 1941 and even described this day in his memoirs written
for a school museum at the request of his youngest grandson, my
son Nikita. That Sunday, his unit was marking Athletes’
Day, when suddenly all the political officials were summoned to
the commissar’s. At that time, my father was deputy secretary
of the Young Communists League bureau, a deputy political officer
of the unit and editor of the popular Na-Cheku newspaper. It was
announced at the gathering that somebody was spreading provocative
information about the war that had allegedly broken out on the
western border. They were told the following, “There is
no war. This is impossible. We have signed a peace treaty with
Germany. The other day TASS reported that Germans were not preparing
for war. Summon all the Red Army soldiers and explain this to
them”. And so they did.
to my father, none of his subordinates had heard anything about
the beginning of the war. They served in a remote area and at
that time only radio operators could accidentally learn this information.
My father had only just dismissed his people when he was summoned
to the headquarters again. The commissar said, “Comrades!
Today at 4.30 a.m. Germany treacherously attacked our country.
Molotov has announced this on the radio…” The meeting
ended with an order to assemble all the servicemen and explain
this to them.
with Iran was traditionally considered a calm place. All of the
men serving there were young patriots and entreated their commanders
to send them to the front. At first, some of them were sent to
the army, but the defense of the state border was an important
task and most had to stay.
25, 1943 my father was included in an assault team but an attack
of malaria meant he could not go on the operation. The team leader,
a senior lieutenant, sent his team to ford the Araks river. He
ordered his soldiers and sergeants to tie each other with one
rope so that nobody would drown. However, they started crossing
the river in a wrong place and eleven out of twelve border guards
drowned in silence, as they had been taught not to shout anything
in exercises. Only one soldier was rescued and described this
tragedy at the outpost. Thus my father had lost all his best friends.
They were buried in a communal grave on the border. The commander
who sent the team to its death served in a penalty battalion and
was killed in action.
met in Yerevan. My mother’s stepfather was transferred there
and my father was sent to work at the local newspaper of the border
troops. The newspaper’s editorial office was situated next
door to the library where my mother worked.
When my father
heard the news of a beautiful librarian he came to the library
to borrow a book. My parents fell in love at first sight.
They got married
and a girl was born a year later. But she soon died of pneumonia.
Our sister whom we never knew was buried in Yerevan. My brother
Sergei was born the next year. His birth certificate is written
in two languages, Russian and Armenian. Our family left Yerevan
in the early 1950s and he has never returned there.
I have been
to Yerevan. I found the house where my parents lived in the first
years after their marriage – a beautiful four-storied stone
building which belonged to the former border department of the
Caucasian military district. I met an old Russian woman there
who said she was the chairperson of the housing committee. She
did not remember my parents, Mikhail Bakanov’s daughter
Emma and Lieutenant Grigory Demchenko, but she did know that at
that time Russian border guards had lived in this house. I called
my mother and cried, “I am near your apartment! I see the
old high tree in the yard under which you used to put my brother’s
pram! What other signs should be here?” And mother answered,
“There was a small house in the yard where Armenians lived.”
Dear mother! When I arrived in Yerevan in 1999 only Armenians
moved to Moscow by chance. Under pressure from my mother, father
finally entered the faculty of journalism of the Lenin Military-Political
Academy. He said he was lucky because it was the last year when
he could do it at his age. After graduation he was offered a position
in Riga at the local newspaper of the border troops. We packed
our things and were about to move there when suddenly my father
was summoned to the border troops’ political department
and offered a job at Pogranichnik (Border Guard) journal in Moscow.
It was my
mother who made the decision. She said, “We shall always
be able to visit the Baltic region. Let’s stay in Moscow.”
So I was born a Muscovite.
I often thought that my life would have been quite different if
my father had not been offered the chance to stay in Moscow. If
I lived in Latvia, I would have been treated as a daughter of
a former Soviet serviceman and a KGB man (the border troops were
part of the KGB).
We have kept
my father’s medals For the Defense of the Caucasus, For
Combat Services, For Victory Over Germany, For the Protection
of State Border and the post-war Order of the Red Star. My parents’
memories remain with us: evacuation trains traveling across our
huge country under bombardments, mass migration, hospitals with
wounded soldiers, disabled people who flooded Russian cities after
the war, deprivations, ration cards, life in evacuation and their
hard youth when everyone was part of one big family.
Biggest Cemetery of German
Soldiers to Be Opened in Russia
(RIA Novosti) — The biggest cemetery of German soldiers, where
the remains of the servicemen of the German army who were killed
in the battles of the Kursk Bulge will be buried, will be opened
at the village of Besedino in the Kursk region. Deputy governor
of the region Igor Astapov told RIA Novosti about it.
Kursk land is ready to receive the remains of all German soldiers
buried in the Kursk, Oryol, Voronezh, Tula and Bryansk regions,"
he underscored. In the Great Patriotic War against the German
fascism (1941-1945) fierce battles were going on in the territory
of these regions.
In the Kursk
Bulge battle 200,000 people were killed on both sides. Presently,
38 soldiers of the Reich are buried not far from the village.
In the future, it has been planned to bring there the remains
of another 100,000 German soldiers.
will be carried out within the framework of the international
agreement between Russia and Germany. The organizational and financial
part of the project will be carried out by the German side.
The work on
a mass re-burial has been planned to start in May and to end in
fall. However, already now up-to-date medical equipment has been
brought to the village hospital from Germany as a sign of gratitude
to the local inhabitants for a gesture of goodwill.
On July 12,
1943, a Soviet military operation, "Kutuzov", started
to the north of the city of Oryol. The fascists fortified the
Oryol bridgehead for nearly two years, regarding it as a springboard
for dealing blows at Moscow.
In the mighty
battle of the summer 1943, the Nazis’ attempt was frustrated to
restore the strategic initiative which they lost in the Battle
of Stalingrad, to encircle and destroy the Soviet troops in the
so-called Kursk Bulge.
damage was inflicted on the prestige of the German weapons. Thirty
German divisions, including seven tank divisions, were routed.
In its scope,
tense and results the Battle of Kursk is among the greatest battles
of the Second World War.