“There was a burst from an assault rifle. It was a boy” – war witness recalls
World War II veterans recount their stories about the war, its effects and its human perspective.
Aleksandr Litvinov, a sergeant-major from the Soviet infantry, recalls how they discovered a brand-new car, covered with hay, in a barn. A young boy was hiding on the roof trying to protect this shiny car, full of fuel and with the key inside, from Soviet soldiers.
"Suddenly from above someone fired a burst from an assault rifle,” the war veteran remembers. “It was a boy, a German boy. Kostya fired a burst into the air and the boy threw his rifle down and began to cry, he was just a young boy. We took him down. He was all in tears. And we tried to talk to him, but failed and he did no understand us.”
So the Soviet soldiers decided to have a ride in such a great discovery.
“It turned out that the car belonged to Goerring and it had been hidden. So, we drove out, shifting the gears. There were many gears there, and then suddenly we pressed one button and the siren started wailing so all the Germans hid behind the door,” Aleksandr Litvinov tells. “But at the end of that long street, our commanding officers stopped us and locked us up. So they gave the car to the division headquarters and asked if they knew us. And they answered, ‘Yes, they are ours, and we need them. Why on earth are you keeping them there?’ And then our commanding officer replied, ‘Send your people and take them back. We won’t let them go on their own.’ But in the end they released us.”
Galina Kulikova, a child of besieged Leningrad, Russia, recalls that when the siege of Leningrad began she was only three years old. Winter was the worst, and what was before winter she did not remember, probably because her mother tried to make it as easy for her as possible:
“She worked in food retail and once they gave her a slice of meat. She ate that meat and because of that, or maybe for some other reason, because there was little food, she got sick in the stomach…One dreadful day I woke up and tried to wake her up but she did not move.”
Little Galina crawled over her mother’s body and went to her neighbor.
“I said, ‘Aunty Ksenia, my mommy won’t get up’,” Kulikova remembers. “She went to our place to take a look and then she returned and wrapped me up in a blanket, I remember it was very rough, and she said sit here and look out of the window while we take your mommy on a sledge ride.”
Then “Aunty Ksenia” took the child to an orphanage.
“There were many of us there and I recall us riding in a lorry down the Road of Life [the only passage in or out of the city], and there was plenty of water all around, like fountains from under the wheels, there was water on ice,” Galina states. “Then the air-raid began. And our lorry, our driver was maneuvering and trying to avoid being hit…”