Military Review

Life of German missilemen on Lake Seliger - how they lived and rested

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Life of German missilemen on Lake Seliger - how they lived and rested

In October 1947, German specialists in rocket technology were deported to the Soviet Union, who worked comfortably for the Soviet rocket and space program and conducted a number of successful research on missiles (How the Nazi FAU missile program became the base of the Soviet rocket and space program).


German specialists, scientists, engineers, physicists, mathematicians and skilled workers were taken from the destroyed and torn apart post-war Germany together with their families to the secluded island of Gorodomlya on Lake Seliger in the Kalinin (now Tver) region, where they worked in the secret Branch No. 1 of the Rocket Institute of the Research Institute -88 to 1953 (How the Germans developed missiles after the Lake Seliger war).

Gorodomlya Island was located in the center of Lake Seliger, 250 meters from the Amusement Island and halfway between the town of Ostashkov on the southern coast and the fishing village of Sloboda in the north. The Island of Amusement, the western part of which is heavily covered with forest, was used by the inhabitants of Ostashkov as a place of entertainment and recreation.

The island of Gorodomlya, one and a half long and one kilometer wide, was covered with dense pine and spruce forests. On the western side were the office buildings of the branch. And in the east - a residential complex to accommodate German specialists. They and their family members were free to move around the island and travel into the city, accompanied by a plainclothes security officer.

The country's leadership has done everything possible to create favorable working and living conditions for German specialists and their families. Because it was necessary to use their knowledge and experience to the maximum in the formation of the much-needed Soviet missile program.

Providing living conditions


German specialists on the island were completely equipped, counting on their fruitful work seriously and for a long time. For work, they were provided with normal rooms for design and research work, with the necessary laboratory equipment. There was a small factory where German and Soviet workers worked. From the place of residence to work and back, specialists were transported by buses.

Before the arrival of the Germans, all residential buildings on the island were soundly repaired. And living conditions at that time were quite decent. The Germans lived with their families in two-story wooden houses. All family professionals received separate two- and three-room apartments.


The main building of the branch

According to the memoirs of the engineer Werner Albring, who described in detail the way of life of the Germans on the island, he and his young wife and little daughter received a three-room apartment. They got married during the war and had a tight fit with furniture. He got the beds and wardrobes from the warehouse. There were several stone buildings on the island, which housed the administration, a restaurant, a school and a clinic.

Deputy Korolev Boris Chertok recalled that when he came to the island, he envied the living conditions of the Germans. For in Moscow he lived with his family in a communal four-room apartment, occupying two rooms with a total area of ​​24 square meters. And many specialists and workers then lived, in general, in barracks, where the most basic amenities were not available.

Wages


German specialists, depending on their qualifications and academic titles, received a decent salary for their work, significantly higher than the pay of Soviet specialists who worked at NII-88. In addition, they were encouraged by large monetary bonuses for completing work stages on schedule. There were also bonuses for academic titles.

For example, doctors Magnus, Umpfenbach and Schmidt received 6 thousand rubles a month. Chief Designer Grettrup - 4,5 thousand rubles. Engineers - 4 thousand rubles on average.

For comparison, take a look at the monthly salaries of the main management specialists of NII-88. Korolev (as chief designer and head of department) received 6 thousand rubles. Deputy Korolyov: Chertok - 3 thousand rubles and Mishin - 2,5 thousand rubles.

You can compare the salaries of Soviet / German employees in the same position:

head of department 2000/8500 rub.
researcher - / 6000–7500 rubles.
engineer 1500/3000 rub.
master of production - / 2500 rubles.
technician 1000-1500 / - rub.
laboratory assistant 500 / - rub.

So the Germans had an incentive to work well and earn decent money to create decent living conditions during that difficult post-war period.

Foodstuffs


German specialists, together with family members, were provided with food according to the norms of the rationing system that existed until October 1947, on an equal basis with Soviet citizens.

The assortment of groceries in the state store on the island was rather scarce. And the Germans were allowed to buy food at the market in Ostashkov. On Sundays they would go to the city to the bazaar and buy butter, meat, milk and eggs from the peasants for the whole week. According to their recollections, they especially noted the delicious peasant milk. They have not tried this in Germany either.

Compared to their high salaries, food prices were more than acceptable. For example, black bread - 2 rubles, white bread - 8 rubles, potatoes - 0,8 rubles. (on the market - 2 rubles), milk - 3,5 rubles. (on the market - 5 rubles), cigarettes “Belomor” - 2,45 rubles, vodka - 25 rubles.

Teaching children


The families of German specialists included children of all school ages: from first graders to sixteen. Before the opening of a special school on the island, children studied at the so-called "home school", where the teachers were the parents of the students, specialists in various fields of knowledge.

It was not difficult to find teachers in mathematics, physics and biology among scientists. There were teachers in the humanities, the German language, stories Greece and Rome, music and physical education.

In 1948, a special school was opened to teach children of German specialists. And they were replaced by full-time Russian teachers. A veteran of the Great Patriotic War, Galakhov, who spoke German well, was appointed director of the school.


School for German children

According to the recollections of the Germans, the curriculum of Russian schools was very interesting. German remained the language of instruction in the primary school.

But already in the second grade, children had to learn Russian as a foreign language. At this age, all children, without exception, quickly mastered a new language. In the middle-level classes, all subjects were already taught in Russian. German grammar and literature was taught as a "mother tongue". Students took exams in seven grades to enter secondary school.

After graduating from the Gorodomlevskaya secondary school, students took final exams together with graduates of the secondary school in the city of Ostashkov. Five graduates of the school in 1950 entered the universities of Leningrad. And later they returned to the GDR.

In connection with the retirement of the "special contingent" in 1953, the special school was transferred to the curriculum of an ordinary school.

Leisure of Germans on the island


Upon arrival on the island, the Germans did not confine themselves to work only. Immediately, they independently took up the arrangement of their life and leisure.

In their free time, they went in for sports, amateur performances and housekeeping.

On their own initiative, they built tennis courts, created symphony and jazz orchestras. And two theatrical collectives, where a significant number of specialists and their family members, together with children, were engaged with enthusiasm.


Concert of amateur performances

On weekends and holidays, they were allowed to travel to the regional center of Ostashkov, and Moscow, to visit shops and markets. They were regularly taken to Moscow theaters and museums.

Life on the island was in full swing. And their stay in the Soviet Union was in no way comparable to the situation of Soviet prisoners of war and civilians taken to Germany.

According to the published memoirs of Frau Gertrude Grettrup, the wife of the head of the German group at Gorodoml, the living conditions of German specialists and their communication with Soviet specialists and local residents are described in detail.

In her book, in particular, she writes:

“On Sundays we went boating.

We moved around the lake in search of new villages in order to learn more about the local hospitable peasants who were happy to share what they had to offer - thick creamy milk, bread and cheese.

They are served in the dining room, the only room in the house apart from the bedroom and kitchen ...

In one corner there is an icon lamp in front of the icons, and in the other corner "Father" (Stalin) is fixed on the wall next to the family photographs of those killed in the war.

While we are sitting, our son Peter is playing on the street with the village children, watching the smoking of bacon, and driving chickens and geese. "


Helmut and Gertrude Grettrup during leisure hours

After leaving the island of Gorodomlya and returning to Germany, most German specialists fondly recalled their stay in the Soviet Union, where they were provided with all the conditions for creative work in their specialty. A normal environment for everyday life, leisure and education of children has been created. And they especially remembered the cordial attitude of local residents to themselves.

And this is after the colossal losses suffered by their compatriots after the war.
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  1. No name B
    No name B 18 March 2021 18: 39
    +10
    The Germans have a very developed sense of respect for work, for a working person. It doesn't matter what nationality you are and in what position, if you work you are respected. If you do not work well, two warnings and kicked out. They love when you are the first to greet and praise everything German. There are also such nationalists who are clearly afraid to say that they begin to freeze, well, this is like the costs of my profession as a driver.
    And in fact, I hope the USSR managed to get a return from the Germans, otherwise why did it all have to be organized.
    1. Svarog
      Svarog 18 March 2021 18: 44
      +7
      Quote: No name B
      And in fact, I hope the USSR managed to get a return from the Germans, otherwise why did it all have to be organized.

      The USSR succeeded .. but the modern Russian Federation passed everything .. and according to the results of the Great Patriotic War veteran, winner.. lives much worse than the vanquished.
    2. bistrov.
      bistrov. 18 March 2021 18: 53
      +7
      Quote: No name B
      I hope the USSR managed to get a return from the Germans

      The result was obvious, the USSR was the first to launch an artificial satellite and a man into space.
      1. hjvtp1966
        hjvtp1966 19 March 2021 22: 07
        +2
        This is not a result, this is a stage. The ultimate goal of the efforts of all statesmen is to improve the living conditions of the majority of members of society. Expensive military programs drowned my homeland, the Soviet Union. We can say that the care for ordinary people was launched into space. And in 91 they paid back with the same coin.
    3. Victor Tsenin
      Victor Tsenin 18 March 2021 18: 58
      +3
      We have the same, it is enough to pay attention to this, and draw the attention of colleagues to the same. 90% of people will not notice this, looking straight ahead, so help.
    4. Paragraph Epitafievich Y.
      Paragraph Epitafievich Y. 19 March 2021 12: 40
      0
      Quote: No name B
      It doesn't matter what nationality you are and in what position, if you work you are respected. If you do not work well, two warnings and kicked out. They love it when you first greet and praise everything German

      Where does this servile gasterbeiter servility come from?
      1. No name B
        No name B 22 March 2021 11: 09
        -1
        This is the result of communication with Russian-speaking Germans who have lived there for more than 10-15 years, I often meet them at work. Well, I myself communicate, as I can, with the Germans. There is no servility, the Germans are very tolerant people, not without meanness, but they carefully hide it, sometimes only talking with them in a raised tone, returned them to reality, but this is very rare.
    5. yehat2
      yehat2 19 March 2021 15: 36
      +4
      Quote: No name B
      The Germans have a very developed sense of respect for work, for a working person.

      not quite so - the Germans believe that you can respect a person if he creates at least something, not necessarily works. For example, it runs a cat shelter. And this position is deeply hostile to the French rentier.
  2. 2 Level Advisor
    2 Level Advisor 18 March 2021 18: 45
    +8
    "And their stay in the Soviet Union was in no way comparable to the situation of Soviet prisoners of war and civilians taken to Germany."
    they were not in the status: neither prisoners of war, nor stolen ordinary residents .. and I think they brought real benefits to the USSR, otherwise the conversation would not be long despite the warmth .. It is quite a reasonable decision of the NKVD on them, you work well, you live normally .. cynical , but for the result it is useful ...
  3. Jolly Roger
    Jolly Roger 18 March 2021 18: 46
    0
    You watch how the Helmut and Gertrudes cheeses in butter rode on a boat, and it was of no use to them, as well as from the gunsmiths of the rifleman and other different people who were fed better than our own, we ourselves are more and more partly they did, both rockets and machine guns.
    1. Victor Tsenin
      Victor Tsenin 18 March 2021 19: 02
      +7
      Do not get excited, it was really good, they worked effectively, God forbid everyone.
  4. rocket757
    rocket757 18 March 2021 19: 11
    +8
    Life of German missilemen on Lake Seliger - how they lived and rested

    If you remember, think about it .... the allies dragged a lot, a lot more to themselves, they were richer many times and their industry was not destroyed in any way ... in its very strength! They have Von Braun, got accustomed ..
    And our ancestors were able to wipe their nose, and how!
    They were great people, our great people, they did great things !!!
  5. bandabas
    bandabas 19 March 2021 03: 55
    0
    [quote] [/ quote] / ;;; / o j.qlfjwliedhqgСс
  6. Alecsandr
    Alecsandr 19 March 2021 09: 21
    +4
    German specialists made a great contribution to the development of Soviet rocketry, as well as the American. They were leaders in missiles in World War II and advanced far ahead. Therefore, the USSR and the United States in every possible way sought out German missile launchers and used them in their countries. So the German contribution to the first satellite and the flight to the moon was undoubtedly.
  7. Old26
    Old26 19 March 2021 17: 20
    +5
    Quote: Jolly Roger
    You watch how the Helmut and Gertrudes cheeses in butter rode on a boat, and it was of no use to them, as well as from the gunsmiths of the rifleman and other different people who were fed better than our own, we ourselves are more and more partly they did, both rockets and machine guns.

    There was a lot of good. Neither we nor the Americans had anything like this at that time. To create the rocket industry, we had to create a lot from scratch. But in the same FAU-2, the Germans used 86 grades of steel. The USSR was able to pick up only 32 substitutes. For non-ferrous metals - 56 and 21, respectively. Non-metallic materials - 87 and 48.
    We simply didn’t begin to make in metal and put into service German developments. But nevertheless, Korolev used the developments of a group of German missilemen. The famous royal R-7 is an aerodynamically copy of the German design. In the same way, the aerodynamic scheme of the royal lunar H-1 is based on a German design.
  8. zenion
    zenion 16 May 2021 14: 09
    0
    Everything is like in the song of a famous singer - if you are not there, I will come up with it, stand up the way I want. And uncultured people added - six by six square thickness. The Germans went on strike four times because of bad galoshes, but failed to make them, they were thrown with galoshes. All the dishes were silver, and the fork-and-spoon equipment was 100% pure gold. A dental institute was also created to treat the teeth of the Germans, and several discoveries were made in it in launching dentures into orbit, to scare away dish-flying, it helped a lot.