Letters, July-August, 1944

Roza began keeping her diary in October, 1944, but had been writing to the war correspondent Pyotr Molchanov for nearly her entire time in the army. The Soviet policy was to keep women off the front unless absolutely necessary, and this left Roza bored. Ultimately, her passion got the best of her and she started going AWOL. She would go on “hunting” trips, alone, to snipe Nazis near the front.

July 29th, 1944. Letter to Pyotr Molchanov:

Please take this to the administration and assist me. If you knew how passionately I want to be with the fighters at the front and kill Nazis. And here, imagine, instead of at the front lines – at the rear. And recently, we lost another 4 black and 1 red. [4 killed, 1 wounded] I want to avenge them. I ask you to talk to someone in charge, although I know that you are very busy.

August 8th, 1944. Letter to Pyotr Molchanov:

I recently went AWOL. Carelessly left the rear for a company at the front. They did not look for me. Good people have said that leaving from the rear to go to the front is not a crime. And I know that our training company will not go on the offensive, and will stay behind. I also need to be at the front, to see with my own eyes what it is, a real war. And then, to look for the lead battalion? All around the forests and swamps, staggered Germans. It was a dangerous walk. I went to the battalion, which was directed to the front, and on the same day fought in the battle. Beside me, people were dying. I fired, and successfully. And afterwards captured 3 … these fascists are strong.
I’m happy I went AWOL. Although they reprimanded me. I even got a punishment from the Komsomol1 – put on watch.

August 31, 1944. Letter to Pyotr Molchanov:

Thank God, finally we are back in the fight. All went to the front. Score increases. I have the most – 42 dead little Hitlers, Ekimova – 28, Nikolaeva – 24.

1  Communist youth organization, roughly equivalent to the Girl and Boy Scouts. Virtually every Soviet child joined the Young Pioneers around age 10, and most would then graduate to the Komsomol at around 15. From there they could work toward joining the Communist Party, which would provide significant advantages in their career and standard of living.

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