“I was fourteen and a half and said – send me to the front!” – WWII remembered
World War II veterans recount their stories about the war, how it began and what happened in the very first days of the fighting.
Field medical officer Ekaterina Demina started serving at the front when she was not even fifteen years old. She was rejected in the local conscription office but met soldiers who agreed to take her to the front as she had medical skills.
“They asked me what I could do,” Ekaterina Demina recalls. “I told them I could dress wounds, stop bleeding and apply bandages. ‘Are you a medical assistant?’ they asked. I didn’t answer. I thought that telling them I am a medic would be a lie, but if I were silent it could pass for sort of an agreement that I am a medic. They fetched a bag which was huge and full of cotton and bandages. One of them asked me ‘What is the watch for in the bag?’ I said ‘When stopping a bleeding from a wound, a tourniquet can be applied for no longer than an hour.’ He said: we are taking you!”
Guerilla liaison and reconnaissance man Vladimir Izvestny remembers how guerillas asked him to work for them, and how spies were everywhere and some were sent virtually to his house.
“There was a difference between organized guerillas and myself. They went for missions in teams of three to five or even more, and they could always cover for each other. There was no one to cover me, but their friends I met never betrayed me, not a single one,” Vladimir Izvestny says.