Picture this: small village under Mogilev. Very primitive houses no toilets no electricity. This is where our grandma was born in 1939. One of the ways to earn money -a farm nearby or very cheap manual labor such as gathering herbs. The village is already rather poor but then Germans march trough and real devastation begins. Men are captured, gathered like cattle, put on a train, they don’t know what’s going to happen to them, if they will be killed. It’s couple of days just to walk to the train. When the family tries to throw food to prisoners-it’s their husbands or fathers -they are often shot. Even small kids. When great grandfather was taken he screamed: “Marina! Don’t throw food! Save the kids! “. He and his friend try to escape – they jump from speeding train, climbing out the window. Aleksei jumps after his friend and lands badly-broken ribcage.
They hide men any way they can – their father hiding in the cellar with Germans right there in their house. If he is found the whole family ( 4 young kids) will be shot. With no medical care he slowly dies. If a soldier dies the family get a small compensation -a cow or something like that so the family has a way to survive. If you get captured you are branded a traitor. Nobody cares if you die or if your family will survive. They are left with nothing. Grandmother still a little girl is brought to him, told to look at him, try to remember his face. Later she is devasted she couldn’t.