Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The authorities in Kiev try not only to undermine the unity of the orthodox church, they rewrite history, seeking also to erase the memory of the common fight of our people [both Russians and Ukrainians – ed] against fascism. Citizens of Ukraine resist this policy. In Kiev the album “People of Victory” devoted to the destinies of hero-veterans was presented.
100 destinies, 100 stories of one Great victory! The sincere book photo-album, in which every page – tears and joy of those who will never be able to forget that war. They are not simply the heroes of the book, they are the authors of the most authentic account of the Great Patriotic War.
She wanted to become a geologist, but war changed everything. Olga Ivanovna Tverdokhlebova left the Leningrad military college as an intelligence agent. In Poland in the rear of the enemy she told everyone that she was an orphan, and that she was called Asya. And being covered with a legend, she got data on underground German plants. She has many awards – there is an award of the Red Star, but the most precious medal is “For Courage”, which she was mistakenly awarded posthumously, when nobody believed that she would return from her task. But some days later they found her in hospital – unconscious, but alive.
“We passed the front line. Germans struck from one side, and ours from the another. All my friends died, while me, I gripped a little icon, it was returned to me in hospital,” remembers the veteran of the Great Patriotic War Olga Tverdokhlebova.
Sometimes they were only 14 years old, they were simple workers, teachers, but became tankists, pilots or sappers. These are the stories not of separate people – this is the story of a whole generation.
This book is a collection not only of truthful stories, but also piercing photos. Today they are also at a special photo exhibition. 100 faces from which it is simply impossible to move away from. Each photo literally penetrates with the eyes of a person who passed through the horrors of war and learned to live with heavy memoirs.
Anatoly Ivanovich Demin. In 1944, in Latvia, he was surrounded. Germans were several dozens, them – only a few people, but they withstood.
Valentina Ivanovna Luchinkina. It is her photo on the book cover. In occupied-by-fascists Odessa she headed an underground organization. She couldn’t come to Kiev because of health reasons.
From the 100 heroes of the book, only a third of the veterans came to its presentation.
“It is me photographed on the horizontal bars. I exercise. And now in the same way, of course! Every day, in the early morning”. While he is already 93. Ivan Ivanovich Gorbenko – a participant of the Kursk fight, liberation of Konigsberg, and the heaviest battles near Rzhev. But he doesn’t speak about war, he says: it’s better to talk about music. In the photo in the book he is with an accordion. he dreamed about one, or at least about a harmonica, all the war, and he found one accidentally – in the trenches.
“I took one harmonica in a trench, kept it for a little while, it was German, beautiful. And I left it. What can I do with it? I am a Commander of a platoon. I had nothing else but a carryall,” said the veteran of the Great Patriotic War Ivan Gorbenko.
Journalists of the Inter TV channel began in 2015 to record the stories of the people of victory so that they are not only heard – but seen by millions. They visited all the country. Nearly two years ago the first volume of the book was published – the first 100 stories, and the first videos on the air of “Inter”:
“My award of the Red Star smells of gunpowder, smoke, and cinder. War taught to love the Motherland, to appreciate people… While now we aren’t appreciated anymore. We are almost forgotten. I ask – remember us. And let God never allow you to see war”. Mikhail Mironovich Artemyev. 92 years old.
In Ukraine alone there are more than 30,000 veterans who fought for that Great victory. And every story deserves a whole book. All of them still in detail remember war, which then wasn’t called World War II – but Great Patriotic. And for the Motherland they fought to the bitter end.
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