Stress warning: Sexual assault.
January 24th, 1945.
For a long time I didn’t write anything. There was no time. Went to reconnaissance in regiment 785. Wonderful guys, well received, but started to get harassed by the head of the regiment, chasing me when I had done nothing, grabbing at me like he was in a brothel. I could not stand him, and left after only staying 2 days: it was impossible to live there anymore, the harassment intensified.
During those two days, all day there was no time to breathe. There were horrible fights. Full trenches of German infantry fortified and armed – defended tenaciously. Our trench passed by theirs and ended at an estate 150-200 meters away. Fritz fired whenever we passed by. It was a real meat-grinder. So many times we got troops on the self-propelled guns, 1 or 2 people at most, and the rest mowed down by enemy fire. I went into a self-propelled gun, but could not manage to fire, cannot look out of the hatch without being wounded or killed. I got low, crawled out and fired on the Fritz fleeing from the trench.
By the evening of the 22nd expelled all, occupied the estate, found the antitank ditch. I go on, the infantry is laying down, and is afraid to go further. Two Shtrafbat scouts were going ahead. I go with them, and as a result we three were the first to occupy the estate, and all of us went on the attack, and began driving at the heels of a retreating Fritz. I, like all, shot. As it turns out the neighbors to the left of the Shtrafbat are the 63rd RD. 63rd RD commanders saw me, shouted to the soldiers: “Here is this girl’s example, learn from it.” Left me alone, but I went to look for them. Running and screaming soldiers on the right: “Which division?” And hear a shout from behind the soldiers: “Halt.” And to the left out of the bushes stand up two Fritz with hands up, 4 meters from me.
I met the divisional scouts, and they sheltered me, saying: “You will go with us.” And I was guided forward, to the west. They lost 14 people to Fritz, and we are already marching on. Fritz retreated without looking back, and then were suddenly ordered to return. We go by car, the column goes, to the town of Shlisselburg. Passed the town, we go on further. Here, the Germans ditched everything: cows and all, and fled into the woods. Shelled the village. Found Frau there. Guys carried them away on tractors and etc. [edited] Many Lithuanians. And the equipment we have, God – the whole army moves, I swear, and they don’t follow traffic rules.
Big iron bridge over a river. A beautiful road, good overlook on the meadows. Near the bridge downed trees – no time to make an abatis. Luxurious house, stone, elegant furnishings everywhere: piano, mirror, silk curtains, plush, lace, beautiful chairs and all the furniture. Scouts are not up to me, they are busy with work, and there is no place to sleep. Kicked out.
I was in the division. Vadim, son of the chief Colonel, a Lieutenant. Nothing to do, a mama’s boy and evil. Stuck close to me: “Give me a kiss” – he was drunk here. I was in the middle of changing my clothes. He walked in without permission and I wasn’t wearing any pants. Strong, though small. Twisted my arms around, threw me down on the couch, kissing me, and just then the Colonel walked in – his father. I have tears on my face, crying. “What’s going on?” I say: “Just because I’m a girl, does that mean everyone has to kiss me?” He yelled at his son, but after he had left Vadim said: “Understand, I don’t want German girls, they’re infected, and you’re a clean, pretty girl, who I still want to kiss.” I said: “You have so many wants, I have to be the one to give in?”
Again march at night, now dark, but soon dawn, sitting around the campfire and writing. So bad, when no bosses need me. Good, that nobody is giving orders, but still bad – no orders, what to do? I can’t seem to find contentment in my heart. I don’t need anyone.
Roza Shanina was killed in action on January 27th, 1945, at the age of 20. She was buried at the base of a pear tree on the bank of the Lava River.
Her brother Sergei was granted a new trial, but his conviction was not overturned. His original sentence of 10 years hard labor was changed to execution. He took his own life on February 3rd, 1945.
Roza’s friend Aleksandra “Sasha” Ekimova was killed in action on February 26th, 1945. Sasha’s husband, Vladimir “Vovika” Emelyanov, died on April 5th, 1945.
Pyotr Molchanov kept Roza’s diary in his Kiev apartment for 20 years, before allowing a heavily edited version to be published by the journal “Yunost” in 1965. The diary is currently held at the Arkhangelsk Regional Museum.