Korobkina, Maria Sergeevna
When Germans brought their troops on the territory of the USSR, Maria Sergeevna was only six years old. She lived with her mother, grandmother and two brothers. The youngest brother wasn’t even one year old at that time. As for the elder brother, he was a thirteen-year-old boy who had to become the head of the family as their father had left in order to defend the Motherland from the German invaders. The family hadn’t received a single letter from the father till 1947. Fortunately, all those years the hope that their father was alive did not leave them, and in 1947 he returned home after a long and hard way to Berlin with joy of victory. He presented his favourite daughter with a piece of beautiful fabric for a pinafore dress. But her reaction was not the one he had expected to see. She said that she didn’t need a pinafore dress or anything else but a lot of bread for everybody in the village to be satisfied. Everyone was starving that time…
The summer of 1941 was a difficult time for those people who lived in the village Lutovca which is situated in the Rostov Oblast not far from the city Millerovo. The German troops came to the village to make the connection, so they settled down in villagers’ cosy houses and drove them out of them. The poor people could do nothing but live in trenches which were in their gardens. Maria Sergeevna remembered all her life how they had to sleep in straw and the Germans made them wash the linen, tide everything up, and that late at night she ran in her own garden unnoticed to bring something eatable for her brothers, mother, grandmother and herself. The Germans forbade the villagers to gather the harvest from their gardens. Nowadays it’s very difficult to imagine the children and women who were working for the Germans during World War II and, being very hungry, watched the enemies eating fruit from their gardens, drank milk of their cows, ate their meat. The merciless invaders didn’t pay attention how the old people, women and children were suffering. Maria Sergeevna wouldn’t forget one night on her usual way to the garden when she heard somebody’s voice. Though she got scared stiff she came closer. A stranger asked her for help. A man was lying in the ditch. The Germans had beaten and thrown him away as they thought he would die. This courageous woman called her brother and together they helped him to rise and get to the trench. He turned out to be a Russian soldier who was caught by the Germans during the reconnaissance. The mother and grandmother secretly cured him with the help of complimentary medicine. Such things happened very often and the villagers tried to help everybody in spite of the great danger that was evident.
In autumn Maria Sergeevna began to attend primary school. There they also had to obey the Germans’ rules. When the children passed a German soldier they had to say “Heil Hitler” but they didn’t want to. And soon the school was closed. In spring the Germans left Lutovca, so the villagers could occupy their houses again. But still life was very difficult because of starvation, cold and constant fear. Only the hope for victory helped people to exist.
Now Maria Sergeevna is 72 and it’s difficult to imagine that she was a little girl that time. Now she is an elderly person who lived hard but at the same time very happy life. She moved to Perm in the end of the 70-s and still lives there.
The russion version: Коробкина, Мария Сергеевна