This text initially appeared at Russian Pioneer Translated by Kristina Aleshnikova
Frankly, my father didn’t even like to the touch with regards to the struggle. It was extra like I used to be merely close by when the adults have been discussing or recalling issues amongst themselves. All my data concerning the struggle – about what occurred to my household – arose out of these overheard conversations between adults. Nonetheless, there have been occasions once they spoke to me immediately.
My father was a sailor. He was referred to as up in 1939 and served in a submarine squadron in Sevastopol. On his return, he labored in a manufacturing unit in Peterhof the place he lived with my mom. I feel they even constructed some sort of little home there.
When struggle broke out he was working in a navy firm, which entitled him to an exemption from conscription. Nonetheless, he utilized first to hitch the celebration after which once more to be despatched to the entrance. He was dispatched to a NKVD sabotage squad. It was a small contingent of 28 individuals who have been despatched into the close by rear to hold out acts of sabotage – blowing up bridges, railway tracks, and many others. Virtually instantly they bumped into an ambush – somebody betrayed them. They entered a sure village, then left it, and once they returned a while later the Nazis have been already ready for them. They have been chased by means of the woods. My father survived by hiding in a swamp the place he spent hours below water respiratory by means of a reed. I keep in mind this from his story. He stated that whereas he was within the swamp respiratory by means of the reed, he may hear the German troopers passing by, just some steps away from him, and the way the canines have been yapping…
On high of that, it was already presumably early autumn, which is to say it was already chilly. I additionally keep in mind properly how he advised me that the top of their group was a German. A Soviet citizen, however German nonetheless.
Curiously, a few years in the past I used to be handed a file on this group from the archives of the Protection Ministry. I nonetheless have it at my residence in Novo-Ogaryovo. There’s a listing of the group – surnames, first names, patronymics and transient descriptions. It was certainly 28 individuals and their chief was a German, precisely as my father had stated.
Of the 28 individuals, solely 4 crossed the entrance line again to our aspect. The opposite 24 have been killed.
They have been then reassigned into the lively military and despatched to the Nevsky Pyatachok. It was in all probability probably the most violent spot throughout the entire of the Leningrad Blockade. Our troops held a small bridgehead 4 kilometres in width and a few two kilometres in depth. It was speculated to be a springboard for the longer term breaking of the blockade, but it surely by no means obtained used for this function. They broke by means of the blockade elsewhere. Nonetheless, the spot (Nevsky Pyatachok) was held for a very long time and there was exceptionally heavy preventing there. There are commanding heights above and throughout and it was shot at all through. After all the Germans have been additionally conscious that it was the most certainly place for a breakthrough and tried merely to erase the Nevsky Pyatachok from the face of the earth. There may be information about how a lot steel there’s in every sq. meter of this land. To today it’s strong steel.
My father advised me how he was wounded there. The wound was extreme and he lived the remainder of his life with shrapnel in his leg as not all of the fragments may very well be eliminated. His leg all the time ached and he may by no means straighten his foot correctly afterwards. They selected to not contact the small fragments to keep away from shattering the bone. And thank God, they saved his leg once they may have amputated – he had physician. He was assigned group II incapacity. As a disabled veteran, he was ultimately given an condo. It was our first separate condo – a small two-room place. (Word: Earlier than that the Putins lived in a communal condo, the place a number of households share the amenities, hall and kitchen, and sleep in separate rooms.) Earlier than we got the condo, we lived within the metropolis centre and now we needed to transfer, not fairly to the outskirts, however to a newly-built space. That didn’t occur instantly after the struggle, however after I was already working on the KGB. I used to be not given an condo then, however my father lastly obtained his, and it was trigger for nice happiness. His account of how he was wounded was as follows:
He, along with a comrade, carried out slightly sortie into the rear of the Germans, crawling, crawling, after which it turns into each humorous and unhappy on the identical time. They reached a German bunker, from which an enormous man emerged and seemed straight at them. They may not stand up as a result of they have been below the machine gun sight. “The person checked out us very rigorously,” stated my father, “took out one grenade, then one other and threw these grenades at us. Nicely and ….” Life is such a easy factor, but merciless.
What was his greatest drawback when he regained consciousness? The truth that it was already winter. The Neva was icebound, and he had by some means to get to the opposite aspect to get assist and expert medical care. Nonetheless, he was in no situation to stroll.
True, he did handle to regain his individuals on this aspect of the river. However there weren’t many who have been prepared to tug him to the opposite aspect as a result of that stretch of the Neva was uncovered to artillery and machine-gun fireplace. There was little probability of reaching the alternative financial institution. Nonetheless, purely by probability a neighbor of his from the home in Peterhof appeared. And this neighbor didn’t hesitate to tug him throughout and certainly dragged him all the way in which to the hospital. They each made it there alive. The neighbor waited on the hospital, made certain that he was operated on and stated, “Nicely, now you’ll dwell, however I’m off to die.” And off he went.
I later requested my father if that man actually did die. He stated that he had by no means heard from him once more and believed he was in actual fact killed. He was by no means capable of overlook that episode and it tormented him tremendously. I do not forget that someday in Nineteen Sixties (I don’t keep in mind the precise 12 months as I used to be nonetheless very younger then), however someday within the early 60’s, he all of a sudden got here residence, sat down and started to weep. He had run into his saviour in a store in Leningrad. Like their earlier encounter, it was purely by probability, a one-in-a-million coincidence that each males have been in the identical retailer on the identical time. They might meet once more later at our residence. My mom advised me how she visited my father on the hospital the place he lay after he was wounded. They’d a small baby who was solely three years previous on the time – that point of blockade and starvation. My father smuggled his hospital rations to her and he or she in flip took them residence and fed their baby. When he started fainting from starvation within the hospital, the docs and nurses found out what was happening and prevented my mom from visiting him once more.
Then her baby was taken from her. It was finished with no prior discover, as she later recalled, in an try to avoid wasting babies from hunger. The youngsters have been delivered to orphanages for subsequent evacuation. The dad and mom weren’t even requested.
He fell unwell there – my mom stated it was diphtheria – and didn’t survive. My dad and mom weren’t even advised the place he was buried, and so they by no means did discover out. Simply final 12 months, some individuals I don’t know, engaged on their very own initiative, searched by means of the archives and located paperwork about my brother. And it actually was my brother, as a result of I knew that after fleeing Peterhof from the advancing German troops, they lived with one among their pals – and I even knew the deal with. They lived on the so-called “Water Channel” (Vodnyj Kanal). It could be extra correct to name it a “Bypass Channel” (Obvodnyj Kanal), however in Leningrad it’s referred to as the “Water Channel”. I do know for certain that they lived there. Not solely did the deal with the place he was taken from match, however the title, surname, patronymic, and date of beginning matched as properly. It was, after all, my brother. The place of burial was Piskaryovskoye Cemetery. Even the precise website was specified.
My dad and mom have been advised nothing of this. Clearly, different issues have been of upper precedence again then.
So every thing that my dad and mom advised me concerning the struggle was true. Not a single phrase was invented. Not a single day was moved. The whole lot advised to me about my brother, the neighbor, and the German group commander – every thing matched, all confirmed in an unimaginable method. After my brother was taken away and my mom left on their own, my father was lastly capable of stroll with crutches and returned residence. When he made his method to his constructing, he noticed that there have been orderlies carrying our bodies out of the doorway. He recognized one among them as my mom. He approached them and it appeared to him that she was respiratory. He advised the orderlies: “She’s nonetheless alive!” “She’ll move away alongside the way in which”, they stated. “She’ll not survive now.” He then attacked them along with his crutches and compelled them to hold her again into the condo. They advised him: “Nicely, we’ll do as you say, however know that we are going to not come right here for one more two, three, or 4 weeks. You’ll must cope with issues your self then.” My father nursed her again to life. She survived. She lived on till 1999. My father died in late 1998.
After the blockade was lifted, they moved to the Tver province, their dad and mom’ homeland, and lived there till the top of the struggle. My father’s household was fairly massive. He had six brothers, 5 of whom have been killed within the struggle. This was a catastrophe for the household. My mom’s kin additionally died. I used to be a late baby as my mom gave beginning to me when she was 41 years previous.
Our scenario was not distinctive. There was, in spite of everything, no household from which somebody didn’t die or which didn’t undergo grief, misfortune, and tragedy. Nonetheless, my dad and mom nonetheless harbored no hatred for the enemy, which is solely wonderful. To be sincere, I nonetheless can’t totally perceive it. Mama was usually a really type and mild individual. I can keep in mind her saying: “Nicely, what sort of hatred can one have towards these troopers? They’re easy individuals and so they additionally die within the struggle.” It’s wonderful. We have been introduced up on Soviet books and flicks… and we hated. However she by some means didn’t have it in her. I can nonetheless clearly keep in mind her phrases: “Nicely, what can you’ve towards them? They’re additionally exhausting employees, similar to us. They have been merely pressured to go to the entrance.”
These are the phrases that I keep in mind from my childhood.