“In silence and suspense, a few days passed after the Soviet soldiers left, retreating, and our mothers did not withstand the strain,” recalls Yuri Petrov. - They agreed with a familiar woman from the second branch of the grain farm that we will live with her children for some time. The woman agreed. The next day, early in the morning, we took the documents in a bundle, a two-liter bucket of semolina, water in a bottle, bread and set off on the road.
To the second branch was about ten kilometers. Six children and a mother set off on a journey. We carried two on our hands. Mom led us, and Aunt Ksenia stayed at home to guard the apartment. We gathered in a hurry, walked under fear.
There was not a soul around, only a small herd of horses met close to us. The horses, obviously, got rid of the herd of a horse-farm that was being driven to the rear.
Wormwood grew in the steppes, in some places a waddle and not quite still dried bushes of tumbleweed, under which we hid when we heard the roar of airplanes. Departing near the village, we suddenly heard a hum and a crash. In the sky flew a group of three aircraft. One was bigger, the other two were smaller. There was an air battle in the sky. Two fighters attacked a bomber. They flew high, right above the village Celina. Crack published machine-gun bursts. Understand where whose aircraft was impossible. Soon they were out of sight.
We walked the steppe under the sun. No tree, no bush. Here and there came fields of corn and sunflower. We walked very slowly, often had to rest. Especially bad was very small. After all, a sense of fear did not pass. In memory of that road, such pictures come up: machine gun fire is heard somewhere in the corn, rifle guns, and here is a completely fascinating picture: a German three-engined plane sits far away from us on a flat field, soldiers jump out of it and run over the hills in a chain. They seem to us points from here. Was it really, or was it a footage from some movies - I don’t understand, because we were extremely tired and hungry.
These paintings are constantly in front of my eyes. Far after midnight, we suddenly rested against the white wall of a house. We walked, no longer hiding or hiding, because our common crying was heard far away. And we cried from hunger, and from fatigue, and from fear. The night was impenetrable, there was no light and no sound was heard. Both the bucket and the documents we have long lost somewhere. Lost and all that was in our hands.
A scared woman came to our crying and, having understood what was the matter, quickly took us to the house, fed us what she could, and we went to bed. The next morning it turned out that we were in the third branch of the grain farm. Before the second branch, we had to walk about five kilometers in the opposite direction.
We stayed here for another day to relax and try to find documents. The search, of course, yielded nothing, because we did not know from which side we entered the village at night, and there was a bare steppe all around.
* * *
The next day, as soon as we got ready to leave, as the motors roared, two large trucks drove into the village from the north. They were not like the type we were used to — much larger than ours; white balls were attached to the metal rods on the wings of the front wheels.
Marveling at this technique, we, women and children, stood near the wall of the house and looked at the arrivals. They were not far from us.
Suddenly, there was a strange cry, and people started jumping out of the cars in a strange shape. They wore coats and gray-blue trousers, boots with a bell and shorter than ours, with caps on their heads. Some were without a hat. Among them, the officer stood out with his uniform and cap. Only now the women who stood with us realized that they were German soldiers.
The Germans just looked at us and began to warm up. Then, seeing that the village was quite small and that there was no one here besides women and children, they did not go to their homes, but went to the sheds, where they could hear the grunting of pigs and the clucking of chickens.
We, both women and children, did not hide, but watched their actions. They no longer paid any attention to us, as if we were not there. Catching pigs and chickens was accompanied by loud laughter and jokes of soldiers over each other, if someone showed awkwardness. Having fun in this way, and abandoning the captured animals in the car, they drove on. Here, in the third division of the grain farm, we first saw the Nazis.
If I had not seen with my own eyes the appearance of the Germans in the village they had captured and their behavior in doing so, one would have thought that I was telling some fragment from the movie about the war.
Their behavior can be explained by the fact that they felt themselves masters and winners. After the departure of the Germans, we quickly got together and went to the second section. And in the second section, we, before they appeared in the grain state farm, saw German soldiers.
The house in which we settled stood on a hillock that went down to the pond. We lived here for several days and waited for Aunt Xenia. Near the house was a road. The road went to the dam of the pond and went further, somewhere in the steppe. In the dam there was a small wooden bridge over which trucks were also passing.
* * *
One day there was a rumble of motors. We left the house and saw that on the opposite side of the dam a column of cars and two tank, one in front of the column, the second closed it. The Germans got out of the tank and began to examine the bridge. After making sure that the bridge is strong enough, the front tank went forward.
The bridge immediately collapsed, and the tank head went into the water. One of the tankers climbed out of the tower, began to gesticulate with his hands and stamp his feet. At this time, and Misha suddenly began to repeat the same gestures, obviously mimicking him. My mother grabbed us by the arms and quickly drove us into the house.
This column did not pass through the village. Most likely, she went some other way. The situation was then hard.
On August 2, the Germans were already in Stavropol, and on August 12, in Krasnodar. Thus, in August, the village of Celina was already deep in the bag. Since the Red Army was rapidly retreating, it is not surprising that units, groups, and perhaps even units of soldiers may fall behind. Not surprisingly, their separate clashes with the Germans are not surprising, and shooting at corn, and German troops on airplanes. It is very possible that what I consider to have come to me in my childhood delirium was actually a fact. The sudden appearance of small groups of Germans in small villages and their rapid disappearance is probably the desire to intercept retreating, not lingering for long in such villages.
In the second compartment, at the hostess in the shed, Misha and I found a well-packed and tied duffel bag and a rifle. On the lapel bag duffel was written the name of the owner. We did not open the bag. The women ordered us to hide the rifle. We just threw it into the pond.
After two or three days, Aunt Xenia arrived on a horse harnessed to a cart to pick us up. She came not alone, but in a whole baggage train. Neighbors also came for their families. In the second compartment, besides us, several other families from the grain farm were in the evacuation. They took the carts and horses to the stable, which by this time was already ownerless. She was only visited by a horseman to water the horses and give them food.
She brought food with her. Among the products were baked butter, and sunflower, and honey, and ham, and bread. We left all this to the woman with whom we lived for several days. Aunt Ksenia purchased products at the state farm warehouse. When it became clear that the products could get to the invaders, it was announced in the village that people would go to the warehouse and disassemble the products. Whether everything was dismantled or something else remained, I do not know.
Soon the warehouse was set on fire, and everything that could have been burned in it. From the warehouse were only the walls, which for several years stood in this form. The case of the warehouse can most likely be explained by the fact that both in the village of Celina and the state farm they did not know the exact state of affairs on the fronts of the North Caucasus direction and therefore they protected the state property until the last moment. I am sure that the commanders of the passing military units warned that only the Germans were behind them and that the villages would soon be in the hands of the invaders, and probably they were asked to provide them with some of the food in order to feed the soldiers. Such rumors at the grain farm then went. Products had to be given to the public literally in recent days.
The warehouse at the grain point was set on fire, probably along with the wheat. Wheat was burning and smoldering, in my opinion, even after the escape of the fascists.
We drove home already carts. We were joined by neighbors, including the Masleevs, and several other familiar families. On the way home we again saw a herd of horses. Maybe it was the same herd that we met earlier. Adults and older guys agreed to bring this herd home and distribute the horse to everyone who rode with us. There were sixteen horses in the herd. This I firmly remember. So did.
Houses were all sorted out by horse and driven into their sheds. We also got a horse. I remember that she was limping and was no good at the farm. Why we took it, I do not know. But when we came to the shed in the morning, it turned out that the castle was shot down and the horse was gone. The horses were taken away from everyone, and the locks from the doors were also shot down.
* * *
Where are the horses and the transport on which we arrived, I do not know. When the fascist troops appeared in the grain state farm, I cannot say, but before our arrival, from the so-called "evacuation", they were already here. We felt this immediately in the manner of the removal of horses. They robbed the residents of the village for several days.
The robbery was going in waves. Some parts left, then others came, and it all began again. First of all, they took away the bird and the pigs, then the cattle.
In September-October, almost everything was taken from the population. There was nothing for people to hope for. One day, going out into the street and passing to the butt of the building where Kovalenko Galya lived, Mikhail and I saw how we cleaned the cow, in my opinion, Chernushkin. The cow was hung by its hind legs in a tree that grew right in front of their porch. Two Germans were engaged in a cow, and Chernushkin's mother was standing on the porch. It was evident that she was sorry for the cow. The cow was the nurse, and no one knew what the family was expecting in the future.
They quartered as owners, to whom everything belongs. They went into the apartment and, without looking at the owners, they immediately determined who to settle in this apartment. For the first time an officer with his batman settled down to us. The orderly behaved frankly arrogantly. He did not let us appear in the room they occupied. We could only go through it quietly, without disturbing the officer. It was September, it was still warm, and women were cooking dinner on the stove outside.
But then the orderly went out to cook dinner for the officer - and the women, taking their pots, immediately tried to go home. At the stove behaved unceremoniously. Everything from the stove should be removed. He seemed not to notice people around him.
Soon, these units and our guests left, and others took their place.
It was the month of October, and the military units that had been undergoing had not been delayed for a long time.
I also remember that the state farm power station did not work. She was incapacitated. In order to provide the state farm with electric power, of course, in the interests of the occupants, behind housing No. 9, near a grove of white acacia, the Germans installed a locomotive as a steam engine and, through a belt drive, powered an electric generator.
There were several locomotives in the grain farm. Before the occupation, they set in motion agricultural machines. The locomotive was fueled with straw, which was plentiful in the fields. Because of the hull number 9, we sometimes observed the operation of this power plant. Besides us, women came here too. Prisoners of war of the Red Army men served the power station, and the women hoped to find a husband or relative among them; moreover, the women tried to transfer some food to the prisoners.
I do not know where the prisoners lived and what happened to them during the retreat of the Germans. Most likely, their fate was tragic. By retreating, the Germans will not take prisoners with them.
Looking through the events of the first days of the occupation, I want to return to the month of September 1942. Misha and I witnessed not the event itself, but its consequences. I have not mentioned that in the village of Celina we had two aunts with daughters. One lived on the third or fourth line, the second lived in a hut at the corner of the intersection of the first line and Sovetskaya street.
* * *
Our families talked by visiting each other. One day, my aunt's daughter, who lived on the 1 line, Hope, led me and Misha to me. We walked to the village Celina past the train station. When we reached it, we saw that a train collided on the second track. The second way was through. The collision occurred in front of the train station. The composition, which was coming from Salsk, was a commodity, and its engine of the CO brand (Sergo Ordzhonikidze) left the rails from the impact and got stuck in the rubble between the sleepers, the second engine and the first freight car lay on its side.
The second locomotive went towards the city of Salsk. It was much smaller than the first, most likely it was a shunting locomotive. Whether they walked towards each other, or one of them stood, I do not know.
We stood on the platform at the main entrance to the station and watched the scene. Everything was before my eyes. The locomotive that came down from the rail had no one, and many German soldiers crowded on the side lying on its side.
Someone used to cut metal with an autogen, someone took pieces, some worked with wrenches. All work on the elimination of the accident led a young German officer. He remembered that his hair and his eyebrows were light yellow to whitish and on the nose - glasses with oblong glasses and gilded rim.
Realizing that now we do not go through the path, we stood and looked at work. Suddenly, Misha, seeing the officer, pulled Nadia by the hand and began to declaim loudly and cheerfully:
“What is before us:
two shafts behind the ears,
in front of the wheel,
and the little girl on the nose? "
The officer was almost next to us. Nadya, frightened, grabbed us by the arms, and we ran home running.
I often recalled what I saw and wondered: what was the cause of the collision? Is it a sabotage, the negligence of the Germans or the absence of qualified railway personnel? Or maybe this collision was planned and executed in advance by our troops during the retreat in order to clutter the paths ... I asked myself questions and did not find an answer.
* * *
November came, then December, January 1943 came. The passing days were joyless, cold, hungry. When there were no “lodgers”, Misha and I left the house and broke the brushwood - the undergrowth of the acacia grove. The brushwood was damp, and in order for it to inflame, we plagued chairs, books, and the remains of kerosene. It was impossible to heat the apartment with this, so the whole family we lived in the same room. We slept on mattresses on the floor all together, sometimes in outerwear, hiding, than possible.
The corn residues of the 1941 crop of the year were consumed: the grains were pushed into mortars. If you managed to collect some flour, baked cakes or cooked hominy. For many days we lived half starving. They were malnourished constantly.
We saw that mothers sometimes came to despair and helped them as much as they could; at least patient attitude to the situation. In these days of January, we noticed a change in the behavior of German soldiers and officers. Now their parts, basically, moved not to the east, but to the west. These were already beaten and battered formations. They did not just retreat, but fled. Just stopping to rest, they immediately filmed and left.
Sometimes 10-12 people packed into our apartment. They no longer behaved like masters ...
Passed through a grain farm and some Romanian or Italian parts. They were hungry, skinny. It seemed that they had no commanders and they were going to crowd.
* * *
Italians, we then called pasta, and Romanians - maryamizhnikami. And those and others, passing through the village, asked for alms. I saw it with my own eyes. They now hated the Germans. From the Italians, we often heard: "Hitler Kaput."
Before the retreat, we settled a German officer. We all lived in the second room. And once, when the officer was at home, Misha offended his little sister with something. She began to cry, and suddenly a German officer rushed into the room, gave Mikhail a strong slap in the face, and gave the child candy in a beautiful paper wrapper. After that, immediately left the room.
Misha and I went behind the hull and washed the blood running from the nose with snow. In mid-January, we heard a distant rumble in the east, like distant thunder. Every day the hum grew. We saw with what anxiety the Germans listened to this buzz. On the faces of the residents appeared joy and hope for early release.
When separate explosions became audible, the Germans suddenly started fussing, plunged into cars and drove away. The fights were already going for the state farm "Gigant" and the village Sower.
Those German units that remained in the village, preparing for battle. At the eastern end of our body was installed anti-aircraft gun caliber 88. Caliber guns I learned later. The gun was on rubber wheels.
Now it stood on retractable steel poles. From the place of its installation approaches to the village were well viewed. Directly in front of the weapon stretched bare steppe.
We and some of our neighbors climbed into our cellar as a shelter for the duration of the battle. How much time we spent there, I do not remember. We sat and trembled with fear and cold. In the afternoon, the cellar door suddenly opened, and a German soldier hung over us. After standing for a while and staring, he took a grenade from his belt and began to transfer it from hand to hand. After admiring, obviously, fear on the faces of women, he again hung a grenade on his belt and with the words "Gut, womb" slammed the cellar door with his foot.
The height of the battle was on the night of 22 on January 23. Intensive machine-gun fire was heard, shells exploded, a shot from an anti-aircraft gun rang out, and an explosion was heard from which the earth shook. When the cellar door was opened, there were flashes from the fire in the sky and the crackling of a burning tree was heard.
* * *
On the same night, Galya Kovalenko suddenly jumped out of the cellar and ran off somewhere. A few minutes later she returned with a cup of cow colostrum in her hands and began to treat everyone. How she managed to keep a cow and feed her for six months is a mystery.
Colostrum was very helpful, as we all were hungry. After a close rupture of the projectile, an explosion was heard weaker, and the sounds of battle somehow subsided. The crackling of a burning tree was still heard. We got out of the cellar when there was complete silence, and it became absolutely light.
The first thing we saw was a cart harnessed by a horse on the road opposite our building, and two Red Army men were sitting in it. Women shouted to them with joyful shouts. As it turned out, it was intelligence that clarified the presence of Germans in the village.
Misha and I, seeing the guys running to the elevator, followed them. On the move they saw the corner of the hull number 8 ruined by the explosion and the interior of one of the rooms of the Medvedev apartment. When the projectile struck, their whole family hid in a cellar and therefore did not suffer.
Next was an anti-aircraft gun and a pile of shells in boxes. The guns Germans put out of action, having blown up the end of a trunk. Now he looked like a blooming tulip bud. All instruments tools were in place. Misha and the children remained at the gun and examined the instruments, rotated the arms, the gun rotated around its axis, and the trunk rose and fell. It was fun for kids.
I went out into the field and turned to move through the railway at the elevator. There were also adults and children. When I went out into the field, I immediately saw three or four bodies lying on the snow in gray overcoats. Two soldiers and a medical man approached them. I was literally a hundred and fifty meters away from them. I clearly remember how one of the soldiers stopped and leaned over the body. Obviously, it was a nurse.
As far as I remember, from the middle of January there was a thaw, and among the snow there were thawed patches of water covered with a thin crust of ice. So I saw this field 23 January 1943 of the year. That is how it stands before my eyes - with the bodies of soldiers lying on it.
At the crossing of the railway in the excavation, I saw a group of people. These were women and children. Above their heads towers of two tanks rose: the T-34 stood in a recess at the railway embankment, surrounded by women and children. Between the tanks was towed rope. Sooty, tired tankers sat on the tank, and the women held out their hands: who was a jug of milk, who was a piece of bread, who was cakes, and who was a kettle of boiling water.
Everyone wanted to treat our liberators with something. Women cried for joy, hugged tankers. Moving away from the fighters, a group of guys, including me, approached the second tank. What they saw horrified us. A large hole gaped in the side of the tank tower, and along it the tower was split by a vertical crack. It was not difficult to guess that the projectile exploded inside - where there were people.
They buried the remains of tankers, most likely, here, in a notch near the railway. Somewhere it was impossible to transfer them. Later, whenever we went through the crossing, this grave with a modest painted metal pyramid and a star at the top was always before our eyes.
* * *
When I remember the January 23 1943 of the year, I get the feeling that the dead soldiers and tankers are dear to me like relatives. This feeling did not appear immediately, but when I began to realize that very young soldiers died, literally at my doorstep, saving both me and my family, and my shelter from the fascists, and that I and all those rescued from fascism are greatly indebted to the fallen.
So began for me a memorable day of January 23 1943 of the year.
Then went the hard working days, months, years. The first thing we did on the same day was to warm the apartment. From the close gap of the projectile, both we and our neighbors flew glasses from the windows, and the wind "walked" in the rooms.
We first silenced windows with pillows. Then the parents began to do something to feed us. Rescued the same corn. We went with Misha for brushwood. On the same day, they dug the bags of books and began to melt the furnace with them. Furniture was used for the same purpose. For the cares, and this day passed for me and the family - January 23 1943.
The next day, Misha and I went to the grain point to try burning wheat. Of course, it was impossible to eat it, because even if it looked normal, it was all saturated with burning dust. Here we saw the walls of a burnt warehouse. This is the warehouse that was set on fire before the occupation.
Going down to the basement, we saw that the ice under the straw was still preserved. Next was a burnt barn for grain and, in my opinion, a garage. The barn was empty, the grain had not yet been poured into it. These buildings and burned then, on the night of 22 on January 23.
Then went the most joyless days. The corn is over. There was absolutely nothing. Aunt Ksenia began to walk around the apartments and ask for some food, realizing that people themselves have nothing. Mother was already working at the grain farm and appealed to the administration for help, but the state farm could not provide us with significant assistance at that time, because he had nothing.
Aunt Ksenia could not work because of her disability, so during the day she went to the apartments and asked for alms. How we, the hungry, waited for her! She could bring something: a glass of flour, a bottle of sunflower oil, or several potatoes.
We sat in a cold room, wrapped in blankets, without light, because there was no kerosene, the room was lit by a kagan - a wick, placed in a saucer with sunflower oil. There was nothing to drown the stove to warm the apartment, and Aunt Xenia went to the landfills with a bucket - looking for unburned coals among the ashes.
We washed the coal and put it in the oven for the night. This continued until the end of winter. We were so exhausted that I sometimes had stomach cramps and vomiting. As I remember, after the liberation, the first were repaired and launched: a bakery, a laundry room, a power station, a mill, and an oil mill. Of course, not immediately. The power plant launched the same that worked under the Germans. The only difference was that now it was served by captured German soldiers.
* * *
After a while, the bakery started to work and bake bread. In my opinion, from the end of March - I remember well the impassable dirt near the store, and we are marking time in it. At first, the trade went into a live queue, for which a number was recorded in the palm of your hand.
The numbers were recorded since the evening, and at night a roll call took place several times. We had to record eight numbers - a number for each family member. We shouted the same numbers during roll call. If someone did not come on time, his turn was already transferred to another, no matter what.
Such strict rules were established by hungry people. Few families then differed in their condition from ours. People for some time supported those products that were sheltered from the Germans. But there were quite a few of them, they quickly ended, and all were on equal footing.
That's why the launch of the bakery was so welcome. I will never forget these nights. It was cold, dark and dirty outside. Fear of losing the queue at night was much worse than worries from a German raid aviation. Two or three times a night we ran in line for roll call: either mother, then Misha and I. In the morning, before the delivery of bread, all family members who had a number plate should be in line. Two mothers were held in their arms.
This went on for quite some time. And as we waited for the chest with bread, which was carried on a cart from the bakery! A pair of bulls walked so slowly that everyone, looking at them, was under extremely nervous tension.
Tension caused and fear that all of a sudden bread is not enough. People became their numbers, a crush began, the line was constantly moving in a mud mash, and a curse began. The cart was in the dirt on the axis, the bulls sometimes fell.
Bread was made of barley flour, bulk. Wheat grain was destroyed, and the barley, as less running, could not touch. And now it is useful. Bread was given out on half a person. What a joy it was when you get your share of the still-warm bread.
Later, they started issuing cards for each family member, and everything needed could be purchased only by cards. Lost card is not recovered.
From this point on, it was not necessary to record the number of your bread line.
The resulting bread was eaten by us instantly. More often we made of him in a big cup, the so-called tury, although in reality, she was far from real turi. In the bowl, we broke up the pieces of bread, salted it coolly, then poured it with water, stirring it, and then, we poured it lightly with sunflower oil if we could get it somewhere. We ate turus with spoons.
In April, when it dried out a bit, a kerosene gunner appeared on the horse with a barrel, then a ragman who changed old things for needles: sewing, for a primus; sewed, thread and more.
We, like practically the entire population, had very bad clothes and shoes. Everything is worn out and worn out; over the year the children grew up: clothes and shoes were no longer suitable. Buy was not possible. So the women sat for long nights - they altered and patched the old, knitted stockings, socks, lamb wool mittens, and the men learned to glue rubber boots from old car chambers, and hem soles of thick felt or old car tires to old felt boots.
In such colorful clothes and shoes one had to do something around the house, work, go to school, just walk. Of course, young girls in the early days were shy to go out in such clothes. Our mothers asked someone for a spinning wheel, and we all spun wool on it. Grandfather Masleyev made us another spindle, and when the spinning wheel was taken from us, we spun with a spindle. So they lived.
* * *
We somehow provided ourselves with clothes and shoes, and the products were very bad. In addition to bread, there were no other products. There were no sweets at all. However, after a while we began to give saccharin. These were small white tablets that taste very sugary.
Then private individuals began to sell homemade candy-toffee. From here and loud shout: "Tyanuchka, ruble little thing!".
There was no soap at all. Women tried to wash clothes with ordinary clay, then with ashes of sunflower. Later came homemade liquid soap. He was carried in a bucket around the courtyards by private individuals and sold to mugs. The smell and the appearance of it were disgusting, however, it was bought and they were washed.
* * *
Before such conditions of life, war and fascist occupation put us. Stand up before the eyes and the terrible results of the occupation.
With their tragedy they can not leave anyone indifferent. The Yudin family lived in the village of Tselina: a father, mother, son and daughter of 9. We did not know their family. Later, I had to see the mother often, and her son Slava sometimes came to the grain farm to play with us.
One day, the father took his daughter, they went out into the street when the Germans suddenly organized a raid and began to detain Jews and suspicious persons. Then they were put on the street, they drove the population to intimidate and began to shoot the selected ones.
At this time, from the crowd, Zina saw her husband and daughter being shot. She screamed in a terrible voice, the Germans were on their guard, but then women grabbed her, shoved her into the house and hid her in the basement, where she stayed until her release. She came out of the basement completely gray-haired and with quiet insanity.
For several years she walked along Tselina and a grain farm with bags in her hands and, mumbling, was looking for someone. She did not recognize her son and acquaintances. In 1949 or 1950, Zina was not in the village. Her son Slava has disappeared somewhere.
History Her acquaintances told her, and sometimes our mothers invited her to the apartment and fed her.
In the spring of 1943, when trees and grass turned green, I wandered around the northern outskirts of the grain farm, or rather, through the territory of last year’s private gardens to find some edible greens. I was located approximately between the school and the special children's home, closer to the forest belt.
There, where this forest belt was cut by the road from the grain farm to the first branch, two or three square truncated pyramids with a side of twenty meters and height up to a meter appeared neatly covered with earth. Previously, there were none.
Later we did not just walk past these pyramids. But some time passed, and the pyramids suddenly collapsed. Now in this place were hollows overgrown with grass. For some reason, I thought then that this was a mass burial of people. It still seems so to me now.
From the book of local historian Semyon Deboly, I learned that the fascists carried out mass executions of civilians on this site.