November 20-24, 1944

Stress Warning: The November 20th and 23rd entries contain references to sexual violence and harassment.

November 20th, 1944

So many invitations for yesterday evening1 (Katyushniks, Commander of the 711th, Trunichev, scouts, 120th battery, and many more), but I decided to reject all of them, and go to Nikolai [Federov] for the evening, though I knew I would spend it all modestly, because it was on the front and nearly in the trenches.

I sat until dark, and after dark went to Nikolai, going so as not to concern Lena – a rival from the medical battalion. Finally, reached the artillery and, as the saying goes, could not suddenly go against my heart. Now I am crazy about Nikolai Shevchenko, and explained it to Nikolai F in a dugout under the whistle of bullets. Later I wrote him a letter, like: “But I am given to another and will never leave him…” I wrote the guys something in my scrapbook, and Nikolai Shevchenko wrote: “Know, I go through the misty fields for thee, my love.” Oh, how he liked me, but NF had not yet left, while I had not yet gone for the evening to N Sh. N Sh came to see me, and started shooting like a dual. I later reconciled with NF. In the morning came home, and said a few words over my dagger: “Nobody can hurt my feelings, Mishka Panarin was my first, not only on the front, but the love of my life, and he died.”

I sit by the major artilleryman; he likes me as a person, modest, kind. And Nikolai Shevchenko, just a kid. He immediately fell madly in love with me, and suddenly the lieutenant, chief of artillery reconnaissance, was in a delirious dream. This so cruelly played on the nerves of these guys – Nikolai, and a certain other guy, that they followed me and nearly started a duel. And where? On the front.

November 23rd, 1944.

Oh, god, so much nonsense. Yesterday Sasha [Ekimova] was posted on watch with the handsome boys in Dovral’s company, and, ashamed to be seen, left her post to use the bathroom in a ditch.2 Today she, no, yesterday – I went to give my report at the workshop, for her absence, and she was elsewhere. As with anything official, a lot of us were on her side and lied to cover for her, and we are good girls, and the guys wouldn’t lie for us. I explained to Nikolai Shevchenko that I can’t be with him, and he is with Sasha now, and he asked me not to screw around. I have done so. Let him go, happily, if he succeeds. Yes, how hard.

Oh, god, I remember that day, when we were invited to join General Kazaryan in the evening, we were not at camp, and we were unfamiliar with where we were going. And one of our girls had been violated, which was not her fault: “My life is broken, I am no longer a girl” – her words. Even though she is loved, even though this was not her first, even though she fought off the attacks! Yes, and at the gates of my sanctuary there has been more than one enemy, but successfully repelled. Truthfully, this can happen to us? Yes, and we need to be afraid.

Traveled to the airstrip, met and got the attention of Nikolai Borovik, who likes me terribly, as he now has explained. I don’t know to what extent he is being sincere, but this is how it seems to me. He’s not eloquent, and I don’t like that. That trait is a must, but how fully it’s developed is not a big deal.

Yesterday evening visited the Katyushniks, drove for a bit, jumped out of the cab and ran away, crying for a long time. Passed 15 Km, out on the front, got lost, because of the pitch-black, walked by feel and cried. Why? I do not like this life on the road, because we have to work on the front in wartime, and pay little attention to external things, and now?

I cried all the way from my heart, because it was so hard for me. I am alone at night, only bullets whistling, fires burning. Came back, went to bed and slept from 11 at night until 2pm the next day.

Tonight wrote a letter, told Nikolai F some things. Received a letter from Lukyanenko and some other tankers. I know all of them and they remember my mischievous laugh and singing “The Germans stamped, darning their uniforms,” and had seen my photo in the “Crocodile” magazine, but I have not seen it. My pictures from newspapers and magazines are tacked up in the guys’ bunk, or hung on the walls. It seems more respect me than hate me. And those who hate, because I won’t give them what they want or they’re rude, or jealous. Oh, how filthy and rude Yashka Gudkov was, when he visited. It seems I’ll be leaving in another division.


Roza in November, 1944

November 24th, 1944.

Learned that I would be leaving, that night went to Nikolai, not because I was sorry to leave, but because he had some of my things: camouflage, a book, and a watch, but I didn’t take the watch. Felt sorry for Nikolai Shevchenko. Already now I don’t want to see Nikolai F.

The girls are not home. 10 people in different divisions, a lot of crying from them.

We left in the 203rd reserve regiment. Now there is nobody, single. I spit on Nikolai F; Nikolai Shevchenko and I are not a match, it seems: short, but handsome. Will not meet Nikolai Borovik again – he’s fighting south-west of the city of Naumiestis.

Came here in the rear of the division, and spent the night in the training company. Settled well, still put up with the same Commissar.

I met the General’s entourage, had dinner, and being in a devilish mood, played the accordion like back in the apartments. Still a bit closer to the rear, and already quite different, very logistical, good. Still all the same girl talk, “Here, with us…” Oh, God, so boring, boring-something-boring, how to explain? Still, better to be with friends, more fun with them, nice to be around, and them wanting to run off with guys, to Nikolai Shevchenko or Borovik, a lot to Shevchenko, well, and I to Federov – no, perhaps, not yet.

1 First celebration of “Day of the Missile Forces and Artillery,” in remembrance of the victory at Stalingrad

2 This sentence is a complete word-salad in Russian, and this is my best effort to make it readable in English. The editors of the Russian diary publication speculate that Sasha left her post without authorization, and that Roza, as the senior officer, was blamed for it.

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