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13 May, 2010 10:35

I may not get the hero award, but may very well be shot – WWII veteran

RT presents War Witness – a special project dedicated to the 65th anniversary of the Victory in the Second World War.

World War II veterans recount their stories about the war, its effects and its human perspective.

Sergey Rogozhnikov, senior lieutenant in the Soviet army, recalled the operation which secured him the Order of the Red Star.

One day we made it to the river Barta and were exhausted. Only 80 people survived off the whole regiment. In order to proceed with the offensive, the commander ordered us to establish a foothold on the opposite bank. The season was such that the river was not frozen yet, but the banks were all covered with ice and the water was freezing cold. So we made some rafts. That was a challenge too, because in Russia we could just take a wooden house apart, while in Poland they had mostly stone houses. Still, we managed to cross the river….I called up the regiment’s commander and reported ‘Lieutenant Colonel Sir, we have established a foothold on the bank.’ And I heard the commander of the division saying ‘Listen, Lieutenant, keep it and you will be awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union. If you fail, we will have you shot.’ It was a joke. He was laughing. I could hear it on the phone. I thought ‘I am not going to get a hero award for this operation, but I may very well get shot’….After we completed the operation, I got to know that I was awarded the Order of the Red Star,” Rogozhnikov said.

Hildegard Bildt told RT about her romantic encounter as a young German woman with a Soviet soldier.

[All] the officers had walked out immediately, but Yura just stood there and he said he would come back,” Bildt recalled. “He touched the tip of my nose and called me ‘little button.’ Well, that was the beginning. After that he came back very often. He said in Russian ‘I am not afraid of you. I love you,’ and kissed me.”