Fates Seared by the War

The exhibition “Fates seared by the war” presented materials of the multimedia disc “Voices of Winners” made by the Kirillo-Belozersky museum-reserve on the occasion of the Victory Day in 2012.

Preparing for the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War in 2005, employees of the Kirillo-Belozersky museum-reserve made a CD with audio recording of recollections of 39 participants of the war, homefront workers, and children born in the wartime who lived in Kirillov and in the Kirillov district. The disc prepared on the eve of May 9, 2012, was an enlarged version of the previous one and included recollections of 65 people: 37 participants of the war (among them – 8 women) and 28 homefront workers and children born in the wartime. People of different age shared their remembrances: the oldest was born in 1910 and the youngest in 1937. The war seared the life of all of them, but they went through not only June 22, 1941, but also May 9, 1945. They stood the tests of wartime with honour and dignity. All of them advanced victory, therefore not only those who fought arms in hand with the enemy, but also those who helped front-line soldiers with their selfless work, faith and hope were winners. Many authors of the recollections lost fathers and brothers at the war. They gave their lives so that their families could see the victory and their descendants could live in a free and independent country.

The disc “Voices of Winners” can be called a sound book: the total recording time is about 30 hours. Both the records of the veterans’ voices and visual imagery are presented on the disc. A separate page tells about every author. It contains a photo, short biography and references to other pages with documents and photographs of different years. Over 330 photos and documents from the family archives and museum holdings tell about life of our fellow-townsmen who advanced victory at the front and in the rear and then worked conscientiously in different branches of economy, education and culture.

The stories of eye-witnesses collected on the disc give invaluable material which supplements the history of the national feat. The front didn’t reach Kirillov during the Great Patriotic War, but over 17 thousand Kirillov’s residents fought at all fronts and in all combat arms. Usual soldiers tell about “their” war: a field engineer, a machine gunner, an artilleryman, a signalman, an infantryman, an anti-aircraft gunner, a nurse, a radio operator... Many of them were awarded orders and medals. You can listen to the recollections of A.V. Andreev (1921-2009), Hero of the Soviet Union, native of the Kirillov district. The secondary school in the Ferapontovo village is named after him. Only now many authors of the recollections are not afraid any more of telling the truth about that terrible war. The disc contains remembrances of several Kirillov’s residents who went through the horrors of fascist captivity.

Thousands of Kirillov’s boys and girls participated in the erection of defence barriers in the Kaninin region and in their district from August to October 1941 and in winter 1941-1942. You can listen to the recollections of those who dug trenches, harvested and floated logs, laboured in the fields and at farms from the early morning till late night under harsh conditions of cold and hunger. Stories of those who were deprived of childhood because of the war made up a considerable part of the sound book. They recollected how they saw off their fathers and brothers to the front, how they waited for news from them, how they suffered grief at the losses and rejoiced at the victory. Their ingenious stories about the troubled years contain facts evidencing that the slogan “Everything for the front, everything for the victory!” reflected the reality of everyday life.

The number of eye-witnesses of the wartime events which took place at the front and in the rear decreases every year. 49 participants of the Great Patriotic War and 777 homefront workers lived in the Kirillov district as of March 1, 2012. Unfortunately, 27 people out of 65 authors of the recollections were not more. But their stories recorded on the disc help to preserve the tie of generations. Enriching the history with new names and facts, they bear witness to the courage of the Kirillov’s front-line soldiers and the immense burden which fell on the homefront workers. We are proud of the feat of arms and labour achievements of our fellow-townsmen during the Great Patriotic War.

Visitors of the exhibition had a chance not only to see photographs of the authors of the recollections and to get acquainted with their short biographies presented at the stands, but also to listen to their voices.

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