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The Great Patriotic War eyes of the population of a front-line strip on Dona


UDC 94(471.61 & #43; 571) "1992/..."


© 2010. A.V. Venkov

Southern Federal University, Southern Federal University,

B. Sadovaya St., 105/42, Rostov-on-Don, 344006, B. Sadovaya St., 105/42, Rostov-on-Don, 344006,

decanat@hist. sfedu. ru decanat@hist. sfedu. ru

Reflection of events of the Great Patriotic War in consciousness of the population of a front-line strip on a local sector of the front is investigated. Feature is that eyewitnesses at that time were children and give the children's feelings now.

This article is about the childrens memory about the events of the Great Patriotic War in their region.

Further and further years of the Great Patriotic War leave us. There are eyewitnesses of those tragic and heroic years less. And their memoirs - invaluable material for reproduction of history of daily occurrence of that period. Our purpose is to consider how events of the Great Patriotic War were reflected in consciousness of residents of the Don farms and settlements which were in a front-line strip.

Now, asking eyewitnesses of events of the Great Patriotic War, it is necessary to consider an age factor. To the escaped veterans it is already far for 80. The same who were children and nevertheless remember war, at least 75 now. Such it is more. They also represent the population of a front-line strip, share memories about what was endured in the childhood in the summer of 1942 - winter of 1942 - 1943 when war raged in the Don steppes. However, informants not less willingly tell also about later time when the front already left, and life should be adjusted anew.

Places of a research - the farm on both coast of Don around the village of Vyoshenskoy.

Total number of informants - more than ten. Among them there are also veterans of the Great Patriotic War, but they were called either in the 1943rd, or in 1944. The majority during the war were children of school age.

About events of 1941 of memoirs a little. Remember that life changed to the worst, fathers and elder brothers went to army, works increased, but was not felt in the first military winter of hunger as at collective farms the main livelihood of family was received from the kitchen gardens in the floodplain of Don or were engaged in fishery. The same sources of livelihood remained and now.

Summer of 1942 of Germans did not wait. The farm represented backwoods where the local government not always reached. Regular information did not arrive. Knew that there is a war. While there were classes at school (and many went to study to Vyoshenskaya or in the next large the farm), teachers constantly told about events at the front, mostly - about victories of the Red Army. In the summer when children dispersed for vacation, to information there was less again.

Approach of the front was expected rather with curiosity, than with fear. The first deadly threat was not perceived per se, sometimes even caused laughter. Mother from the farm sent the boy Lyosha (8 years) to Landmarks behind bread, and while it went, bombing, the first in the history of the village, began. Lyosha hid in the basement under school. He knew this building better than others and, having been frightened, ran exactly there. And when came back home, the senior companions (same boys) laughed loudly, representing as he was frightened under bombs.

The front came nearer. At first children saw the receding Soviet parts. In the forest at a crossing through Don a lot of equipment accumulated, and it was covered by the German aircraft. Remembering those events, eyewitnesses speak about feeling of chaos and hopelessness. N.S. Zubkov (at that time 14 years): "After what I saw in the 42nd year cannot still understand how we won against it...".

Women (at that time - girls) remember certain moralizing moments. The boy asked to incur a rifle. The soldier gave, the boy did not take down and was tired. "The uncle, take away". - "Ne-et. Bear further". Still incurred: "The uncle, I was tired". And the soldier says: "Now know how it in army".

Feature in life of right-bank farms was the fact that on them there passed not only Germans, but also

Italians. Germans moved further, to Stalingrad, and Italians developed the front along the coast of Don, having divided Vyoshensky district into two parts. According to the Italian commanders who were at war in this area, Italians favourably differed from Germans in the sense of humanity. As D. Messe ordering the Italian case remembered: "Our actions always carried in themselves sense of justice and humanity that corresponded to our race" [1; page 83]. The Italian officers were proud that in a zone of actions of their troops there are no guerrillas.

D. Messe made a certain "Scale of villainy" and distributed in it places:

the 1st place - the Russian White Guards (so he called vlasovets and other collaborators); the 2nd - Germans; the 3rd - Romanians; 4-e-Finns; 5-e-Hungarians; 6-e-Italian [1, page 100].

Locals in a front-line strip did not see the Russian collaborators. Germans were really perceived as force angry, haughty, not considering locals for people. The girl Frosya (7 years) grazed calfs, and she from a ravine contacted the German advanced part. To the girl Germans made nothing. Only the officer called up her and gestures ordered it to rob a burdock which clung to it on boots and trousers. And it on cards fingers peeled a prickly burdock, and the officer stood and impatiently tapped with a boot sock. Germans hurried and therefore she robbed a burdock only from the officer's boots, soldiers went further "in repyakh".

From appearance of Germans the greatest impression was made that on vacation or at any works they undressed and remained in black pants. The local male population at that time still wore underwear (drawers), and children to certain age in general walked in some shirts (without trousers).

Contrary to expectations, the author of article did not hear laudatory comments on Italians. When the conversation on this subject came, A.G. Kochetov (the veteran of war, but called up on age for military service only in 1944) objected at once and told how Italians tortured the captured Soviet lieutenant, trying to obtain from it data. They tied to it the head with a rope and pulled together a loop, pulled the ends of a rope in different directions.

Each fact of violence from invaders strongly was engraved in the memory of locals (both adults, and children).

Perception of the opponent by the population remaining from the Soviet part of the front line, softer. In Italians who were shown on that river bank and even shot through Don, local are inclined to see ordinary people, and can even admire some representatives of enemy forces. The story about certain "Yugoslav" who ran across from Italians is characteristic (D. Messe really mentions "The Croatian legion" in the ranks of the Italian case). This "Yugoslav" got over through Don and as around there were few Soviet troops, he was not noticed at first, and he lodged at one local widow at whom he sometimes "was" also Soviet

lieutenant. Characteristic of "Yugoslav" - "Such nice guy! High, hair black...".

And nevertheless both Germans, and Italians were unambiguously perceived as enemies who should be destroyed. In the winter when the Red Army took the offensive, boys from "trophy", the thrown trenches of the German and Italian rifles which are picked up in shot from the wood at columns of prisoners and killed them. And the Soviet escorts could do nothing. Not to shoot at the answer at the Russian boys.

At memories of that military winter, of transition of the Red Army to approach the awareness of the final superiority clearly appears. N.S. Zubkov: "Germans passed by us to Stalingrad, well and there ours taught them, the cattle...".

Memories of the Soviet fighters more indistinct. First, it were the, and at them especially did not look narrowly. Secondly, they differed from locals and appearance and a stereotype of behavior a little.

And still children tried to brighten up their front life very much. In the farm there was a mortar battery, its calculations were dragged out on long distance. Inhabitants (at that time - children) remember that they almost every day in huts where there were mortars, arranged to fighters amateur concerts, played them balalaikas and mandolines and sang.

Fights around Vyoshenskoy were almost not, they went to the east, near Elanskaya. From all fights the locals remember one in which a rank of the Hero of the Soviet Union the native of the village Vyoshenskoy I. Fedotov participated and deserved. Personally none of them saw this fight, but all heard and remembered that the machine gunner Fedotov was wounded, however half-conscious fired and killed about one hundred Romanians or Italians ("so they successfully all chain contacted him in a depression in the ground, and there is no place to run them").

Among residents of left-bank farms where there was the Soviet line of defense, memories of work in collective farm in a front-line strip prevail, work was hard and monotonous. At the same time pride of trust when it, to children, charged independent business is taken - to light to rise and drive the bulls who are let out on popas and horses. Pride that on them as documents, business trips were processed to adults, workdays were considered, products were written out.

Very often at old men, especially at those who did not suffer directly (the house did not burn down, parents did not poumirat, did not die), slips admiring time. Generally it is connected with abundance of the weapon found and which is picked up in a front-line strip. Probably, it is explained by regional feature, the Cossack population, his eagerness to fight and love for weapon. Often stories as children meet arranged war games with use of the real weapon. There was a lot of such weapon. Battles during the Stalingrad approach were conducted to the east of the village. The opponent left the positions opposite to Vyoshenskaya after and without fight. In the morning children with levobere-

zhya, surprised that Italians do not shoot, moved to the right bank and found the thrown trenches. Italians receded hasty and threw rifles directly in racks and a lot of other property here and there. Teenagers are more senior gathered first of all overcoats and blankets, and the kids were enough weapon.

There is the whole series of stories as played around a padded Soviet tank. In a tank a unit of fire remained, and players shot it from the tank gun. It is interesting what was tested at the same time by their mothers, hearing near ruptures of shells though the front already left?.

Then on a tank began to test a grenade from under - a barreled Italian grenade launcher. But without grenade launcher one grenade was difficult to be thrown so that it got the face party on the purpose. Then the grenade was thrust outside into a trunk of a tank and pushed that the barrel gave it the direction of the movement, and the grenade already in a tank would hit against something the frontal part. However the grenade passed a half of a way in a trunk and stopped. The tank was mined...

Without having become puzzled, two boys got in a tank and opened a lock of the tank gun. One began to lift slowly a trunk that the grenade came down to them, and another held a cap that the grenade fell in soft and did not blow up. The grenade slid down a trunk. Having heard the characteristic itching sound, the boy holding a cap was frightened and tried to get out of a tank. The grenade from a trunk flew in a tank tower and exploded. Children were saved that all force of explosion of a cumulative grenade went on the course of its movement to the tank motor, and them whipped only with small side splinters and deafened. Their companions standing outside of a tank heard explosion and ran up. Victims, bleeding profusely, got out

from a tower and flat-out fell to the ground... Then they were picked up by the come running crying mothers.

There is a lot of such stories: how found spring of 1943 on the right coast the thrown mortar battery with a unit of fire and gave aimlessly several shots, and mines exploded near the plowing tractors; how played war with the real rifles, and the brother of the brother wounded in a leg; how the Italian grenade was thrown in a ravine, and there suddenly something detonated, and since half-minute explosions rattled; remember how any given their peer exploded during such "experiments", died or became a cripple, but there is no special tragic element in such memoirs - time smoothed sharpness of a situation and they risked on an equal basis with unfortunate, they were lucky, and to it - no.

Thus, at all features of perception of war caused by age of respondents it is possible to note that the system of values of the people who were during the Great Patriotic War children remained and remains permanently patriotic. They appreciate the world, do not love war, but consider the Great Patriotic War fair and defensive, remember and are proud of defenders of the fatherland, cannot still forget enemies and business of enemy hands. Optimism and cheerful perception of the world inherent in children even in those difficult years allowed them to find something joyful though it was accompanied by weapon, by bloody experiments, by risk for life.


1. Mass. War on the Russian front. The Italian forwarding case in Russia (K.S.I. P). M, 2009. 310 pages

Came to edition On February 26, 2010

Gottlob Rudolf
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