November 26th, 1944
Settled in 203rd reserve, not bad, resting today.
November 26th, 1944. Letter to Pyotr Molchanov:
Now in the reserve regiment. We are resting again. Soon forget what it’s like to advance. I understand the thirst of my life – battle. But what again? I can not get my way. Sent here, where I rarely even shoot. And now made-up holidays.1 Sasha and Lida lie in the bunk and sing “Час да по часу день проходит”2 [Yes, Hour by Hour Day Passes]. Their song even more spoiled my mood.
Roza, Lida Vdovina, and Sasha
November 27th, 1944.
Washed in the bath, such trouble, while we were naked, a bunch of naked men rushed us, picked us up! For the first time saw German frau, which I did not like.
Yesterday there was dancing. I danced so-so, but impressed – I care about people. Wanted to go for a car ride. Vovka came – can’t, not allowed, him lurking around out of jealousy.
Walking out of the bath, recalled how the Germans captured our girls. Dusya Kekesheva saw everything. She fought herself free, Shambarova played dead. Are the other two still alive somewhere? In the hands of the executioners?3 Here now are German women to take revenge on, but I don’t have the heart to do it. I’m cold-blooded.4 Surprising, but I was told bluntly that I can now kill not only Germans, but whoever, as I was ordered. I cannot; I lived such a life, and I cannot spoil the serene atmosphere. I crave war, in the present minutes it gives happiness to my life, but after it’s finished?
“Walking in June, 1947
It was a beautiful, sunny day. The capital of the Soviet Union, Moscow, was back to its former bustling life. Two years have passed since the end of the war. Soldiers have returned home. Before they opened the doors of secondary schools, tech colleges, and institutes. How these people have changed after two years of peaceful life. Today – the streets of Moscow are especially noisy: Sunday. They are on the street. Two girls by Gorky Park. Their hands tied tightly together. And they are in a hurry. When they reached a white house, they stopped at the entrance. After a few minutes a third girl joined them. Her lips bright with a smile. The triplets continued their walk. A discussion started – words and wild gestures. None of them want to give up. Finally, the argument ended. Burning from the heat they slow their steps. The was silence. Before them was a couple. Slender young man in a uniform, elegantly dressed. In his hands a baby wrapped in a light blanket. Beside him a slim girl – brunette. Chatting about something cheerful. Looking at them, one could see – they are happy. The young man turned his gaze to the three girls. And then everyone saw again the front-line. Their friendship – snipers and Katyushniks.
As they passed, they did not stop. Just nodded their heads. Two years of peace had so changed these people. They were hard to track down. Girls studying at the institute, and the young man at the academy with a wife and son. It was the first meeting in the two years since the war. In two years, the whole relationship changed. Once they were great friends. So why did this young man and these girls not stop, not remember the hard times – war and all the hardships and sorrows shared together. They are so far from it now. The young man not wanting to bring these things up near his companion. The three girls continued on their way, in silence. If you looked at their faces, you would see that one of them was very gloomy. Hurt by this meeting. So ends a good front-line friendship.
Sweet Rozka, I dreamed this dream on the night of November 30th, 1944.5
If we stay alive and healthy, but scatter to different regions, I beg you – do not forget us Kalyushkoy, our brave Stray Troika.
1 Naval Infantry Day
4 Lacking hatred, not like a “cold-blooded killer.”
5 Sic. I think Sasha had her dates mixed up.