November 1st, 1944. Letter to Pyotr Molchanov:
Day before yesterday buried girlfriend-in-arms Sasha Koreneva. 2 more of our girlfriends were wounded: Lazarenko Valya and Shmeleva Zina. Maybe you remember them?
Zina Shmeleva spotting for Roza
November 3rd, 1944. Letter to Pyotr Molchanov:
Returned from the front completely exhausted. This war will be remembered. 4 times the town passed from hand to hand. 3 times I got out from under the noses of the fascists. In truth, war on enemy territory is a serious matter.
November 5th, 1944
Went a long time without writing, there was no time, was at the front. Went with the girls to Vovka. Chatted, that due to Captain Aseyev being killed, I look a little lost when I’m by myself. He was boozy and wouldn’t leave, although we had to, in order to be on time, so we insisted. I really like Nikolai Shevchenko, lieutenant in the artillery, brother of the pilot Shevchenko, who is a Hero of the Soviet Union. He is in love with me, but he’s not very tall, and I don’t like even a little shorter than me, and so I suffer for it.
Spent the night with Nikolai Fedorov. Good guy. He dotes on me: gets me anything I want (suit, hat, gifts). Only I don’t like him. Ah, my enigmatic nature. I take advantage of his gifts when I don’t love him. “An Enigmatic Nature” – Chekhov.1
Celebration night [Great October Socialist Revolution day – November 7th]. Invitations… made a schedule starting with the 5th and ending… But alas, November 6-7 we work in the days and then collapse. Evening of the 6th, katyusha2 boys. Tankers arrived, Vovka Klokov. I wanted to go to [Nikolai] Borovik on the holiday, but work during the day. The katyusha boys are as good as the rest of the guys. Only Vovka Letison I love like a little brother, but he hinted at something I didn’t like. Flashed my dagger. I do not understand anything, even life, it’s all so intertwined.
November 7th, 1944.
Spent the morning of the 7th on the front. Spent the evening of the 6th with Nikolai Fedorov, fun, but unexpected.3 A photographer came from Moscow. The generals called me, as a representative of the girls – a front-line sniper. But Nikolai did not want me to leave, and did not tell me that I was called. On the morning of the 7th I met with the generals, and they scolded me for not coming. I said: “Not told.”
Home. Invitations, guys: “sugar,” and “sweetheart,” and hell. I decided not to go anywhere because I was dirty, tired. Out of the blue an invitation from Molchanov’s army. I could not refuse. Very good comrades, and thought that they maybe went somewhere else. Cough, but I went anyway. Arrived there, ill for two nights, and the 7th laid in bed. So, the 7th – half in Germany, half in Lithuania or the USSR.
I came home, got a bunch of letters, but none which pleased me. Worried about Nikolai. He disgusted me, and he acted very badly: wanted to get drunk on the 6th and take advantage. I can’t stand it. Yashka wrote that he is fed up. He is stupid; I didn’t realize it them. I thought he was a good guy. I only occasionally respond to his letters, and he just wants a photo.
2 Soviet rocket artillery. The soldiers who operate it are called “Katyushniks”
3 Thanks to Valentina, a reader who helped with this section.