Interview recorded:Rososha village, Vinnytsia oblast, Ukraine
About the fate of the other children:
Twins were the youngest. They died in half a year after birth. 3-year-old Kolya and 11-year-old Liuda died of diphtheria.
Evdokia was sent to a concentration camp in Stuttgart. She died of meningitis a few days before the camp was liberated.
Mitya grew up and moved to Khabarovsk (Russia), died in older age 15 years ago. Ivan and Olga live very close to my grandmother.
Anna, a younger sister, my second grandma, lives with my grandmother in the house that served as the German headquarters.
Vira has one daughter (my mother), four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. She now lives with her sister Anna in the village of Rososha, Vinnitsia region.
Tell me about your childhood, please.
Yustyna and me slept on a skrynya next to a stove. We kept our clothes there and called it skrynya. At 4 am we heard the aircraft noise. Planes would buzz, throw bombs. The house remained intact even though it was a target. There was a garden in front of our and our neighbours’ (Bagriy’s family) houses. The bomb hit the garden. God’s will? Who knows…
The head, of this bomb, yea? Was flying on us, across the window, across the window leaf, it flew over our heads, and stuck in the wall. It was stuck in the wall, as we woke up, and we woke up as the plane had sunk. And imagine what the rumble it was – to throw a bomb, and it exploded. This bomb explode and immediately reached the water, because there was a very deep, huge hole, very. It was so big that, apparently, it can fit the house in there. Oh … I’ll remember about it, and I do not know how we are stayed alive.
Over us, this head has passed, and has stuck in the wall, and we jumped up, the Germans jumped up, everybody jumped up. And what you will do, “jumped up”? The window flew out, and stayed under the hut (house). And in the window was a lot of wires. And how it turned out there, I do not know, but wires were unharmed. So those wires were. Well, this bomb has fallen, and there was a garden, here was a garden and the bomb fell, how to tell you, right there were was the tree, there it was, the place were a bomb fell. And that’s all, we are get up early. All unharmed, the Germans unharmed, and we also unharmed, and the bomb fell, and was e, so exploded and reached the water. That’s how we were supposed to watch.
But what kind of airplane did fly, we did not understand, it’s likely that this was … a kukuruznyk (type of soviet plane). I think this was it. Because this plane started to buzzle, fastly, because this is how, you know, it was somewhere here he threw the bomb behind the Kuzmenchyk’s house, and than he flew to us, and we all were asleep. Everyone was sleeping around, and the Germans and the people who were still there. And very fast, threw this bomb, and ran away, this plane.
Two days have passed. Probably two days have passed. A soldier comes. To us, here to house, and the Germans were in the house. In the military clothes. Komsomolets (a Soviet soldier), because he had the Komsomol badge. I remember him very well – this soldier. And grandmother Bagriyka ran out, and “Oh baby! Where do you go, the Germans are in the house!”. And the Germans saw, ran out of the house and took this child … They grabbed him. “Partisan! Partisan! “- they are screamed. God, how they mocked on him. They were shoting in him. He did not die soon. So they mocked him. We cried so much. They mocked him and then killed. So poor, was crying “Mom, Mom, Dad, Mom!”. Young, very young, who knows how old he was, as he was the Komsomolets, the Komsomols, how older they were.
Oh… the Germans killed him. Grandmother took him. And they bent him together and put him there in a pantry, somewhere there was a cellar under the floor. They [the Germans] folded him together and inserted it into that cellar. This grandmother, poor, went to take this baby, carried with Yustyna, because there was nobody else, all were in a Paseka’s cellar. They took out this soldier with Yustyna, and where we will buried him? (they think). And they put him in that hole, the soldier was buried in this hole. This soldier was buried. He, poor, was crying so much. I remembering that very well. Oh…
Then…We had a father there, he was working with wood, he had all tools for wood. We had all the wood machines there, they standing here. The Germans saw that they were here. And Yustyna took and hid everything, the father’s tools, in the hole, there was a hole for potato. The Germans look around, that there are not the whole tool. Found Yustyna. Bring Yustyna to the yard, putt a gun to the temple.
“Where did you hide it?!” – German asked. Some young two Germans, with rolled up sleeves, even here. Young Germans. “Where did you hide it?” – one spoke Russian. Well, he’s a German, but who knows whether he is a German or who? Well, he is a German.
Says – “Where do you hide it, because now …” (threatens). And I look at Yustyna, and she is became white. And she says – “I’ll go and show you where I were putting”. “Go and bring wherever you put” – says the German. We went both to the potato hole and took everything: the wood machine, the small hatchets, everything for work with wood. So a lot of this tool was! All was high quality, because our father was careful about this. And he was such a handyman. He had nothing that he could not do. He was able to do everything! To sew dresses, skirts and shoes, boots and even shoes with heels. And to do everything with wood. He made a mill by himself. We milled on it, and even after the front we milled on those millstones, because where we could get the flour? There would be no flour. And dad hid bread for us.
And it is time to take him to the front, and he buried bread, the rye. In what, in some kind of barrel. As the German had already fall back, we had something to eat, because we had what to mill. We were milling rye, so we had bread. And we sow rye, so we had grain for sowing.
And then, what was our childhood. What childhood?
We wanted to eat, but there was nothing to eat. Mother bake the bread, gave a slice, and Glory to God for this. Mother baked, and gave us by a piece. So one we ate the bread, and then some kind of balandychka (non tasty soup). She cooked, balanda, because we had a cow. The Germans milked the cow when the Germans were. Also we had hives, because our father was a master. And the Germans, when wanted a honey, I missed it, were took the hive out from the house, and these bees froze, because it was cold outside, it was winter, and they took that honey frame by themselves, cut honey, because bees have had honey, put this honey on the table, and eat this honey so well, so something like two hives has disappeared because they were eating this honey, and all the rest of those hives stayed after the war we already have our own hives and a honey.
And then, when this bomb was thrown, 1 day passed and our began to retreat. Began to retreat. Our to attacking, and the Germans to retreat. The Germans began to flee. But what time it was? I do not remember what the year it was. 45-th? Right, this was the 45-th year already.