Family stories
Semen Hеrasymovych
Interview recorded: by Sofiia Pivtorak Rotmistriwka, obwód czerkaski, Ukraina 22.11.2020

Semen Hеrasymovych

A story of an ordinary man who served as a scout during the Second World War.

Grandpa, please tell me whether any of our family members served during the Second World War? Or maybe they told any stories?

My father served during the Second World War. He joined the army as a young man after he graduated from the training school that prepared junior commanders and officers. So it seems fair to say that after graduating from the school my father served in the military intelligence service.

What was his name?

My father’s name was Semen Herasymovych.

Did he serve the entire WWII or just certain years?

The last three years.

So he was a military man and then he was a scout, right?

First, they studied, then he was commissioned into the unit, and there he found himself in the reconnaissance company.

When you asked him about the events of WWII later, did he say or tell you anything?

My father was a man of few words. He preferred not to be taken pictures of. And he didn’t tell me anything.

What was his reaction when you asked him? Did he say anything or just keep quiet?

“You’ll learn it all by yourself as soon as you grow up,” this is what my father used to say.

Did he send any photos or letters during WWII?

My father kept a war register where he described all his combat episodes. And also stories of his friends from the intelligence missions they carried out and kept in mind for a long time.

Did he meet his fellow militaries afterwards or he did not communicate with anyone?

Honestly, I don’t remember that. After the war, my father worked in Pochayiv and taught junior sergeant commanders at school. He served there. He was responsible for people, so to speak, a platoon, whom he trained and followed to firing practice. I only saw my father passing by with those young cadets near our house.

If he was in the intelligence service, how many languages did he speak and what are they?

My father spoke 5 foreign languages.

Oh, it’s Ukrainian, English, Russian, and two more languages!

He spoke German perfectly. Well, I recall an episode, when I studied German at school, my teacher took points off for my translation work. I had to dig up potatoes at home back then and my mother was ill. On the second or third day, my dad went to school. When he started speaking clear German with our teacher, a change passed over the teacher’s face. We didn’t know what they were talking about.

Didn’t you feel like learning several languages like your dad? Was there formerly an opportunity to learn languages?

Learning languages wasn’t my life goal.

Are there any photos or a diary you mentioned left? Or were they lost somewhere?

I don’t know exactly where they are. Go look in the attic.

Ok, thank you for this story.

This is just a brief officer’s story. Well, my father was wounded at the front. Those white scars on his body. A cartridge tore through his chest, through it all, like a bullet.

I see, thank you for the story. This is the first time I’ve heard it. I didn’t know about it before, so I was very interested to listen to it. Good to have had such an opportunity.

My father died when he was 50 years old. He died in his prime. On January 14, he turned 50 and on January 21 he died.

The interviews are given in the original language or a transliteration of it with preservation of national, regional and individual speech peculiarities.

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