“We had to Spend Night in Woods to get to Partisans...”

“We had to Spend Night in Woods to get to Partisans...”

During the Second World War, all Soviet people, big and small, defended their homeland. It is written a lot about the feats of arms of the Red Army, but not enough has been said about the role of teenagers in forging the role of the Great Victory. We will try to fill this gap in the article below.

Every family cherishes relics and honors the memory of ancestors who participated in the Second World War of 1941-1945. Some fought at the front, some were partisans and some worked on the home front. All together they forged and brought that so long-awaited and desired Victory.

Unfortunately, there are less and less war participants, veterans of the Second World War, but for us they are alive, and their portraits are carried in columns of the Immortal Regiment on May 9 on the streets of cities and villages by children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. This regiment connects several generations into a single whole and does not let us forget anything.

In the light of current events now the grandchildren and great grandchildren of war veterans are sent to Ukraine to help liberate that land from Nazi filth, protect the sacred borders of our Motherland from the encroachments of “unfriendly countries.”

In the small ancient town of Roslavl in the Smolensk region Tatiana Pavlovna Fedorkova, a veteran of the Second World War and a woman with first-degree disability, lives. She looks like an ordinary woman. After the war she worked as a seamstress at the Voskhod factory for over 40 years and taught her skills to dozens of people. But the story of her life and her family is very typical of our country. It absorbed those special features which unite the Russian people, distinguish them from other nations and make foreigners marvel. After all, there is no surprise that back in 1866, the well-known Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev wrote:

You can't understand Russia with your brain,

You can't measure it with the standard instruments:

She has a particular status –

In Russia you can only believe.

Tatiana Pavlovna was born in the village of Klin, Yakimovichi district of Smolensk region in February 1928. There were four children in the family: three sisters Maria, Tatiana and Valentina and brother Volodya. Her father Pavel worked as a carpenter, and mother Kapitolina was a housewife. However, the peaceful and quiet life ended in 1941. Pavel was called up on July 8, 1941 to the front. Kapitolina was left alone with her children.

When the Smolensk region was occupied by the Nazis in the fall of 1941, many people had to live in dugouts and barns where they had previously kept cattle. Some houses were burned down, and from the surviving houses the Germans often drove people simply into the street. The Germans encamped in the village of Klin itself, lost in the Smolensk forests. Many villagers, who had not been drafted into the front, went to the partisans. When I first saw Tatiana Pavlovna, I was struck by her youthful face and radiant eyes. She seemed to be an ordinary great-grandmother (she has four great-grandchildren) but something about her touched me, and it is difficult even to put into words what it was. There was an inner strength in this woman, her look was radiant, but focused, clear and firm.

Remembering the past, Tatiana Pavlovna told how she and her mother were caught in the crossfire of artillery fire. There were Germans on one side and Red Army soldiers on the other while they found themselves on a neutral strip. Tightly pressed to the ground, Kapitolina covered her three-year-old Valechka. All the children, the older Maria, Volodya, and her, Tatiana, were near.

“It was very scary, shells were flying over our heads,” said Tatyana Pavlovna. “The earth was trembling; everything was humming and rumbling... Then my mother cried out, my brother cried out and immediately fell silent...”

The woman falls silent and looks slightly away, past me. At that moment, her eyes must have been filled with a terrible image: the blood, the frozen eyes of the already dead mother and brother. All three sisters were hit by shell splinters, too.

“My mother often told me how they all came under fire. Three sisters, frightened, wounded, all covered in blood, were picked up by Soviet soldiers, who fought off that piece of land from the Germans, and then brought to a field hospital,” added Natalya Mikhailovna, daughter of Tatyana Pavlovna, seeing that her mother was silent.

They were nursed in the hospital for a long time. The youngest girl Valyushka could not be saved; she was very badly wounded. Maria soon got to another field hospital, and Tatiana was literally dragged out of the grave.

“My mother was in the hands of good doctors. She still has shrapnel in her lungs, because there wasn't enough medicine, but she survived, then she made it home several days after being discharged from the hospital. My mother was lucky that she was noticed and given a lift on horseback by people going by. They weren't very far,” said Natalia, a captain of medical service, who understands perfectly well how difficult it was for the doctors during the war to nurse the wounded.

We drank tea, kept quiet, and then she showed us the documents, abstracts from the archives and photos. She also showed us the congratulation telegram, signed by the vice-chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation S. Neverov, given to Tatyana Pavlovna the day before.

Memories of the war are difficult for the veteran. On returning to her village, Tatyana Pavlovna had to live for some time in the dugout with her neighbors, slept in barns and took shelter wherever she could. Then her older sister Maria came back to the village, but it was not long before they met. The sister by then was 16 years old already and she, as well as more than 164,000 Smolensk citizens were taken away to Germany...

One day a former collective farm foreman came to the girl, who was 14 years old at the time, and asked her to take food to the partisans. The detachment was in the woods, several kilometers from the village. The first time she was escorted to the meeting place.

“Why were you asked to carry the food? Did you go alone or with your friends? And where did you get the food?” I ask the questions again.

“I don't know why they asked me. We gathered food from the whole village, shared what we could, and I took it to a designated place and gave it to the person who came. I carried potatoes and bread, and baked “queasy potatoes.” I went alone. Everything was hidden, and there were the Germans in the village. The brigadier told me in advance when I had to go,” Tatyana Pavlovna said quietly.

“What are queasy potatoes?” I asked.

“They added some flour to half-rotten potatoes, baked them, and they made me very sick, but I really wanted to eat, so we ate them...” she said.

Natalya Mikhailovna joined in the conversation and added that her mother must have been one of those who gave food to the partisans. Only reliable people were chosen. Her mother, brother and sister were killed by shelling, her sister was taken to Germany, and her father is at the front...

That is how Tatiana, an ordinary, simple Russian girl, went to the partisans. She often had to spend the night in the woods when she carried food. Often she waited for a long time in a conditional place of a messenger. She herself was not in a partisan camp. She walked secretly, hid, tried not to be seen by anyone in the woods. She was warned not to say anything to anyone. She already understood that she had only one punishment for her communication with partisans: burning houses and shooting the young and old alike. Tatiana also risked her life.

My father, a Knight of the Order of the Red Star, returned from the front after a severe contusion during the Second World War. Smolensk had already been liberated from the invaders by that time. Then he, being a carpenter, built a house for himself and his neighbors, and his daughter helped him. Later, his sister Maria returned from Germany. They married, raised children, and waited for grandchildren. Now her grandson, Andrei Kokorev, a captain of the border service, a combatant in Chechnya, now defends the borders of our motherland on the border with Estonia.

During the further conversation it turned out that Tatiana Pavlovna was given the status of a war veteran on June 28, 2004. It happened quite unexpectedly for the family. The daughter explained that almost 20 years ago her mother was summoned to the medical commission. The documents from the field hospital came to Roslavl that Tatyana Pavlovna had been wounded in the war and had been treated in the hospital during the war. Later the family gave this extract to a local museum, where it is still kept. An examination confirmed that the shrapnel was still in her lungs. Then Tatyana Pavlovna was summoned to the military registration and enlistment office and was solemnly presented with a war veteran's certificate.

It seems this woman's contribution to our common Great Victory was not big at all, like a tiny stream, a spring. But, as you know, such streams become full-flowing rivers which gradually gain strength and sometimes sweep away everything in their path. So in the whole country, all together they helped the front, collectively forged the victory: at the fronts, at the rear of the plants and factories, in the partisan units. People supported, helped, and did everything in their power. They sacredly believed that victory will come, and victory will be for us! And so it happened. The just cause always wins!

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