"Suddenly, before the spring, the authorities softened their attitude. Soon there was an explanation: the Germans began to recruit prisoners of war for the so-called Russian Liberation Army (ROA) under the command of General Vlasov.
In our team, this recruitment was carried out in two stages. First, four of us, the most literate, were taken to Stalag: Maxim Galygin, Lastochkin, another one - he forgot his last name - and me. There we were met by a group of ten people who had already joined the POA. They were free and wore some undefined non-German uniform. They offered us to join this army too. The calculation was clearly that we would agree and then we will campaign in a team before the second stage of recruitment. But each of us four refused.
Those who spoke to us were young people, almost all of them had at least a secondary education or occupied small commanding positions in the Red Army before captivity. We answered calmly, but firmly, everyone only for himself.
Talking with the attendees, I tried to understand the reasons for their decision. Perhaps only one he was ideological - it seemed to him possible through the mediation of the Germans to change for the betterSoviet reality. Others made it clear that in this way they expect to return to the Red Army.
Still others saw this as the only way not to die in the camps. I have already said about the complete lack of rights and the helplessness of Soviet prisoners. None of the soldiers of other countries did not feel rejected and cursed homeland, everyone felt themselves its full citizens morally and legally. Everything except us. There were among Vlasov and obvious adventurers, and just people mindlessly floating with the flow.
After our refusal, we were taken back to the team. There we, of course, told everything, and this event also became the subject of face-to-face conversations. Two or three days later, the second stage of recruitment took place. A large commission arrived at the factory during working hours, and all of us were called into it one by one. I was called the last.
There were eight people in the room. Two of those Russians who spoke to us in Stalag, two German soldiers, the chief engineer of the factory, another German in civilian clothes and a Russian translator. He was a young man, about twenty-two, probably from an emigrant family.
Although I still answered the main question in Stalag, here I was asked a second time, and I gave the same answer.Then the Germans - officers and civilians - began to ask about my biography. Then they asked why I refused to be a translator.
I repeated what was written in my request that Hladik sent to Stalag. And why, after my return to the team, another POW (Galygin) also refused this function? I replied that I could not know the motives of others' actions. Why is the factory's working team, which used to be one of the best in Oshatz, now works so poorly? I answered: by the winter conditions in the team became worse, and this affected the work.
I spoke to the commission in German, and the translator went out to smoke. When they let me go, he caught me in the corridor and said he wanted to warn me.
- Be careful. The commission had an opinion that you, perhaps, decompose the team. You are the only officer and the most educated person in it. The deterioration of the work team coincides with your return to it.
She is the only one in Oshats where no one enrolled in the Russian Army. The commission was especially unpleasantly surprised that none of the cigarettes offered to her took the cigarettes offered - it looked like a demonstration. You are Russian, and I am Russian. I tell you this as a friend.
I was sure - in his face, in intonation, in all his appearance, that he spoke sincerely. However, he replied with caution:
- Your caution - not at the address. In general, there is no such addressee in the team. There is one reason for everything: worsening conditions and a natural reaction to it. But, nevertheless, I am sincerely grateful to you. Thank you for your kindness!
He seemed to be somewhat confused, and suddenly said:
- Let me shake your hand.
I handed him my and answered:
- With joy!
And we parted.
After questioning the commission and warning the translator, I began to think about whether I should run. Who knows what is written in my file.
From Oshats to Poland, although it was occupied by the Germans, there were only about one hundred and fifty kilometers. Under favorable circumstances, it is about fifty running hours at night, that is, two weeks. The attitude of the population in Poland should be favorable, in Poland there are many partisans. I began to figure out different options. But these thoughts are not shared with anyone.
In the spring of 1945, the Second Front began to approach Saxony. Accidentally in the workshop I caught the phrase in the conversation of the camp commandant with the engineer:
- Bald kommen wir hier weg (We will be leaving soon).
Indeed, on the night of April 12, our entire camp — about a thousand people — was built on the parade ground. In a hurry, Svyatoslav was somewhere far away from Andreev and me.
It was felt that the front was close: in the afternoon we heard approaching artillery firing.
We were led along the highway. Where? For what purpose? They walked non-stop, rather quickly, many lagged behind their ranks, walked between the rows. There were few side escorts, one walked a little ahead of us, and the next was quite a long distance. Two or three trucks were driving behind the column. On the sides of the road came across abandoned cars, guns.
After some time, shots began to be heard behind the column. Apparently, they shot laggards. How much more to go? If you leave behind, they will shoot you, if you reach, what is there? Maybe the crematorium?
I decided to run. Said to Andreev. He refused. Then I saw a fire in front of the road to the right. It turned out that a broken car was on fire. If, after passing through it, rush into a ditch, the rear guard will not notice anything through a bright flame. This time Andreev agreed, and both of us, having completed this maneuver, hid in a ditch.
When the column passed, we moved to the west, from where we couldnonas day. But it became light, but there was no place to hide: all around the field, not far from home. We lay in the furrows of last year's beet field, disguised with dry grass and earth: our white and blue striped concentration camp form was very noticeable. But we safely lay down all day and at night moved further in the same direction.
Soon through the rare trees of the planted forest, we saw a light in the distance - bright, therefore, it could not be the Germans. We moved there. The light turned out to be a searchlight on an American tank. We were lit up, a soldier with a machine gun approached, they shouted from a tank to him:
- Take away weapon! (Take away the weapon!) I answered:
- We have no weapon! (We have no weapons!)
The conversation went on in English.
- Who you are?
- We are Russian officers, ran away from the concentration camp.
An officer approached us. After my short story we were taken to a farm nearby, where six soldiers were sleeping on the floor in the passage. They moved, and we fell asleep next to them.
In the morning they shared with us their abundant and varied, as a restaurant menu, a marching breakfast from sealed packages and said that a few kilometers away was the city of Eisleben, which had just been occupied by American troops. Warm regards, we went there.
In late May or early June, repatriation began. Soviet military representatives arrived. They did not communicate with any of the repatriates, they kept themselves aloof. This was very different from the attitude of Americans and Germans towards us. On the part of those and others there was sympathy, on the part of ours - wary enmity.
On the appointed day, the Americans filed a lot of open trucks decorated with American and Soviet flags and the inscriptions "Happy Return". About two hours later I saw Elba again. It was, it seems, at Torgau. On its right bank, American drivers warmly parted with us and drove back.
Here, in the Soviet zone, there were no welcoming banners or speeches. We were broken into groups of thirty people, appointed elders and taken trucks to the east. We moved with stops, sometimes for several days. The chief and commissar of the stage were professional soldiers. Their orders were brought to us through their appointed senior, former colonel, and his assistants. The newly appointed ones were friendly with the military, and with us down.
I do not remember our route. Weeks two days later, somewhere near Görlitz (again the Görlitz - as in my first run!) In the morning they called me tothe colonel. Some senior lieutenant was sitting next to him ... When I called my name, the colonel suddenly shouted:
- Oh, you bastard!
The military stopped him with a gesture, called the soldier and told me to go with him for my things. Then they both took me to a basement and locked me in a large empty room. Not for long.
How and for how long they drove me from there - I don’t remember at all. Finally, I, along with the other arrested, were disembarked from a locked car in a square with an equestrian statue. It was a monument to Charles Augustus, and the city was Goestadt Weimar. The beginning of my freedom was overshadowed by the memory of Luther, the end by the memory of Goethe.
Behind, a few kilometers away, on Mount Ettersberg, the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald, in which I was, remained. Ahead, through two streets, is the prison of the Soviet counterintelligence department of the 8th Guards Army (I was taken there the next day, keeping the day in a huge empty mansion of the 18th century in the same square.).
So, in June 1945, I was arrested by the counterintelligence department SMERSH of the 8th Guards Army. These bodies had good reasons for my detention.
Apparently, the Germans recruited some of the prisoners of war with me at the recruiting station in Katyn. He crossed the front line and fell into the hands of our counterintelligence.He could call me, as being at the same time with him in Katyn. Consequently, I could become a spy, and my detention was legal.
But all further became illegal: the so-called investigation, "trial" and sentence.
During the investigation it turned out that I was innocent. But in the NKVD-NKGB system, the principle was: "we don't have mistakes”. He was loved to repeat by the investigators. Therefore, when this charge disappeared, I began to build another. I could not be released: I became dangerous for the "organs". After all, I saw the whole criminal cuisine of the "investigation", its brutal methods of extracting false confessions, applied to me and to others.
This new, new accusation was made up, and its inconsistency would become vividly clear if quite accessible witnesses were brought in. But my request for this was answered:
- We do not need to listen to them, they are the same scoundrels like you.
The "Court" - the military tribunal of the 8th Army - did not investigate the case and, on November 19, 1945, stamped the fake accusation with its sentence. I was given ten years, I stayed nine years and one month and was freed on credits on July 17, 1954. "- from the memories of a junior lieutenant, chief of supply of the 863rd separate communications battalion of the 8th Krasnopresnenskaya infantry division IG Mishchenko.