My kid asked about our relatives WWII experience for his history lesson…

In 1941 most people in Russia didn’t expect any wars as there was a peace treaty with Germany. In that summer my Granny went to see her parents.

They lived in South West of Russia, near the border with Beloruss and Ukraine. My grany had a young child with her (my uncle). Suddenly the Nazi Army attacked Soviet Union. My grandmother was very scared as she was much closer to the front line than in Moscow. She rushed to the capital, although it was difficult because of the panic.

Her baby enjoyed explosions and was shouting “Boom!” every time he heard them. They got to Moscow but Nazis were closing in fast and many people believed they will get to Moscow soon. My grandfather volunteered to go to the front. My granny’s sister was already safe in Central Asia and she decided to join her. The journey was incredibly difficult as there was no regular transport at that time. She was offering to wash and repair clothes for train rides. The baby got ill. But the granny always commented how kind people were to her during the war, for example, in Uzbekistan local women came to the train and gave her and the child food.

Eventually she found her sister, and her baby recovered. They lived in Tashkent for a few years. It was a strange life. Her neighbour was the widow of the famous writer Maxim Gorky (Peshkov). Her sisters husband was a famous pilot. There were lots of other “important” people, all immersed in a very different Central Asian culture.

Eventually our pilot relative offered my granny and her baby a lift back to Moscow in a bomber plane. It was dark and very bumpy inside during all that long journey. She would never ever want to climb into an airplane again!

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