Forever in People’s Memory (on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Victory Day)

This exhibition was about feats of arms and labour achievements of the Kirillov’s residents in the wartime. It presented materials evidencing mobilization of people liable for military service in the Kirillov district during the first days of the war, transformation of the town and the district to the front-line zone where defense barriers were erected. One of the main subjects of the display was heroic labour of women and children who worked in the rear and became “second front”. Personal things of the participants of the Great Patriotic War were real relics. Usual articles used by the local inhabitants in their everyday life in the wartime bore witness to historical events.

The exhibition was opened in the Museum of town and district history. The museum building was a typical dwelling house of local inhabitants. The permanent exposition of the Museum of town and district history presents the interior of the whole dwelling house constructed in the late 19th century. Materials of the exhibition “Forever in people’s memory” were included into the interiors of different rooms which had conventional names: a drawing-room, a study, a bedroom, a kitchen, a dining room, and a doctor’s room. The war of 1941-1945 touched every family in Kirillov like all over the country. Its visible signs were presented in different rooms of the ancient building.

Dwelling rooms of the house are located along the elongated corridor the staircase from which leads to the mezzanine. Visitors could see materials telling about the contribution of the Kirillov’s residents to the victory in the Great Patriotic War on the walls of the corridor. You seemed to pass through the arch of Sorrow going along the corridor: copies of numerous death notices of the Kirillov’s inhabitants reminded of grievous losses in those terrible years. According to still incomplete data of the “Book of Condolence”, 6697 soldiers, natives of the Kirillov district, didn’t return home from the front. On one of the map-cases there were photographs of young solders and officers who gave their lives for the Motherland.

At first glance, nothing reminded of the war in the drawing room where relatives and friends of the house owners used to gather to listen to the music box, the piano or the gramophone, to play cards and to discuss pictures of local artists. But on the piano lid, an attentive visitor would discern an issue of the district newspaper “Leninskoye Znamya” dating back to June 1941 with decrees on mobilization of people liable for military service and imposition of martial law in the Vologda region.

An ancient inkstand was displayed together with a valve radio set of the 1930s and magazines “Samolyot” and “Osoaviakhim” on the writing-table of the study. The district organization of the Society for the Advancement of Defence, Aircraft and Chemical Construction carried out active work in Kirillov in the post-war years.

Visitors could see exhibits reminding of the homefront workers in the bedroom along with the articles dating back to the late 19th – early 20 centuries. The Singer sewing-machine displayed at the window was used in the wartime to mend military uniform delivered to Kirillov from the front, to sew presents for the front, including tobacco pouches. On the floor near the stove there was a woven chest with knitted mittens, socks and other warm things which were collected in Kirillov for front-line soldiers.

The kitchen is a room which is usually closed for strangers. An icon in front of which people prayed for their relatives was often placed in this very room in the years of atheism. Photos of house dwellers of different generations could be seen in the frame. A German metal stove-oven decorated with painting was of real interest in the kitchen. Articles which belonged to the participants of the Great Patriotic War were exhibited in the kitchen among plates, dishes and furniture from the houses of the Kirillov’s residents. There was a field pot, a smoking pipe of P.N. Sursikov, a mug of P.V. Krivosheynov. Alexander Ivanovich Romanov (1925-2002), native of Kirillov, who was a paratrooper during the war, carried the displayed soldier’s tin spoon along front roads of Russia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Austria according to the inscription on it. A soldier’s overcoat of A.P. Trubnikov, a soldier's blouse of V.N. Osipov and a pointed helmet of V.I. Yakovlev were presented on the dummy.

In the middle of the dining room, you could see a large dinner table surrounded with Viennese chairs which were very popular in the late 19th – early 20th centuries. A wall clock, an ancient copper samovar made in Tula, festive china-ware displayed on the table seemed to remind of the peaceful pre-war life.

Portraits of Kirillov’s residents Nadezhda Alexandrovna (1896-1983) and Alexander Ivanovich (1897-1933) Slavinsky painted in the 1930s hung on the wall.

The Slavinsky lived in Lukinki (it is the name of that part of Kirillov which is located on the opposite shore of Lake Siverskoye). Before settling down in the native town, they lived in Cherepovets, Turkistan, and Petrograd. They often went to the museums, theatres, especially liked opera and ballet. When four children were born in the family, the Slavinsky moved to the parents’ house in Lukinki. Alexander Ivanovich was a handy man: he could sew clothes, footwear, make carved wooden shelves and photo frames, hunt and make stuffed animals and birds. At the beginning of the 1930s, A.I. Slavinsky was an investigator, but he forfeited his life refusing to dispossess his cousin.

His wife Nadezhda Alexandrovna (nee Malyutina) was good at housekeeping. It was always clean and comfortable in their house. Indoor plants were placed on homemade benches and tables. N.A. Slavinskaya was always neatly and becomingly dressed sewing all her and children’s clothing herself. She became a widow at the age of 37. She had four small kids: the oldest son was 10 years old, the youngest daughter was 5 years old. Sewing skills became the main source of earnings for Nadezhda Slavinskaya.

During the Great Patriotic War, she dug trenches in Goritsy and on the Maura Mountain, washed dirty, often blood-stained, soldier’s clothes which were delivered to Kirillov from the front. Her three sons fought, Igor and Pavel were invalided back from the front. Ariy died in 1943. The youngest daughter Luisa left school in Kirillov in 1946, then graduated from the Philology Department of Vologda Teachers’ Training Institute and worked as a teacher of Russian and literature. Now Luisa Alexandrovna lives in the Leningrad region. In 2008, her daughter Svetlana and she handed over many articles of the town life of the early 20th century and a part of documents and photographs from their family archive to the museum.

One of the rooms is named “Doctor’s room” in commemoration of the doctor J.Y. Nodelman who lived in this house at the beginning of the 20th century. Exhibits of the 1930-1940s were displayed there along with books, medical instruments and furniture of the 20th century. The loud speaker “Record” on the desk reminded of the fact that many inhabitants of Kirillov had heard a message about the beginning of the Great Patriotic War exactly on the radio. A wooden black box with a carved German inscription bore witness to courage, generosity and mercy of the Russian women. It was presented by the captive German to I.G. Moskovtseva, resident of the Ustiye village of the Pidemsky rural council. A prison camp was situated not far from the village in 1944-1947. The peasant woman who had lost three sons during the war and who knew very well what hunger and poverty were gave potatoes and spring onions to starving prisoners.

The front didn’t reach Kirillov, but over 17 thousand local residents became front-line soldiers and fought bravely with the enemy. War decorations and personal belongings of A.V. Andreev (1921-2009) and A.M. Lelekov (1902-1951), Heroes of the Soviet Union, natives of the Kirillov district, formed separate complexes at the exhibition. Their photographs and documents were placed in the floor and wall showcases.

Personal things of the Kirllov’s residents – participants of the Great Patriotic War were also exhibited there: an overcoat and a peak-cap of Major-General of Aviation A.F. Obukhov; high fur boots of the Hero of the Soviet Union, pilot Y.N. Preobrazhensky, as well as a flight mask of A.V. Vinogradov, flying gloves of I.G. Chuchin which warmed the first Soviet airmen during the flights. Interest in aviation in the 1930s was typical of youth all over the country. V.I. Volkova, niece of I.G. Chuchin, became a woman-pilot. Her photo could be seen over the sofa. More than 2,5 thousand residents of the Kirillov district, including 250 women, were awarded orders and medals during the Great Patriotic War.

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