Drevetnyak Viktor Andreevich

Published july 02, 2012

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I was born in 1928 in Kyzyl-Koba village (was renamed "Krasnopeshernoe" in 1948) in Symferopol district of Crimean ASSR. It was located in a small valley of Kyzylkobinka river (it's the right tributary of Salgir river), near the southern foot of famous Dolgorukovskaya mountain pasture. This village has disappeared nowdays. I lived with my parents and younger sister. Before the war my father was a Chief of a Soviet of the Angara village.

Germans occupied our village in November 1941. In the beginning of 1942 partisans begun to visit homes of the Kyzyl-Koba villagers. They asked for food because there was a terrible hunger in mountains. Soon somebody reported to Germans on it. Nazis arranged several show hangings and burned a few houses. It was a luck that nobody had told Germans about our family. In October 1943 all Kyzyl-Koba villagers joined the 17th Partisan Unit of 6th Partisan Brigade in North Formation. The Unit was located near Dedov Kuren Hill, it's near modern Perevalnoe village which was named Angara those times. Our commander was Oktyabr Kozin. My mother and sister helped other women and children to set uneasy daily life in a civil camp. My father Drevetnyak Andrei Egorovich  was a commander of logistic squad. He was responsible for delivery of foodstuffs and medicine keeping. I had become a private in his squad. We searched for food in abandoned villages. In addition my appearance of an ordinary village boy helped me to look for German and Romanian garrisons' activity in occupied villages. Usually we acted by night. Once we were obliged to go by morning. A German plane noticed us and opened machinegun fire. We've managed to hide in mountains by a miracle.

My father was killed in action in November 1943. After the war Andrei Yegorovich Drevetnyak was decorated with medal "For Courage" posthumously.

In January 1944, during the German clean-up operation, I was wounded in the right leg by a shell splinter and captured by the enemy. I spent some hard time in Nazi concentration camp on the territory of Krasny state farm located in Simferopol. Then I was transferred to German POW camp in Sevastopol. After that Germans moved us to Romania, then Hungary. The labour camp in Austrian population aggregate named Strasshof an der Nordbahn had become my final destination point. In my memory all these countries have left reminiscences about barbed wire and some episodes. For us as prisoners hunger was a norm of life. We had picked up crumbs of bread from earth. We had changed our civil clothes with Romanians for food to not to die from hunger. In 1945 I was assigned to a farming work for local landowner in Langau, Lower Austria. Even a slave freedom of an "ostarbeiter" seemed way better than horrible life in the labour camp.

I was liberated by Soviet troops from 8th to 9th of May 1945, so the Victory Day is a double holiday for me. That year I returned to Perevalnoe village, Simferopol district, Krimean region. I took part in restoration of destroyed and burnt rural economy of our peninsula. From 1948 to 1951 I served in Internal forces of Soviet Ministry of the Interior. After that I worked as a driver in Soviet Ministry of Defense, Alushta food complex, municipal road-building department. Last three decades before being pensioned off I worked in Alushta bus depot. I was a deputy of a city council of Alushta, was nominated for hall of fame. Now I'm on a pension. I can't speak after a stroke so I wrote my memories in short. I want that Krimean partisan movement was never forgotten.

Interview and editing by: Y. Trifonov
Translated by:V. Lashmanov


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