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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

We get acquainted with the history of the creation of one of the most famous songs of the war years and look into a homemade children’s book.

The State Museum of Defense of Moscow has opened the exhibition “The addressee is our memory. Letter to Dad “, dedicated to family correspondence during the Great Patriotic War. Curator Daria Brunova selected 20 of more than two and a half thousand messages stored in the museum’s funds. The letters written by members of five Moscow families have one thing in common – loved ones who find themselves so far from each other wanted to talk about everyday trifles, as if there is no war.

In addition to letters and photographs from family archives, there are no things that belonged to the heroes, but each showcase is supplemented with objects of the era: here you can see a small teddy bear, an officer’s tablet bag, fountain pens, inkwells. On the walls there are posters, paintings, children’s drawings created in the early 1940s. Behind the glass are two small rooms, also made up of stock items: the first (with books and a gramophone) tells about unpretentious wartime entertainments, and the second (with packed suitcases and boxes) – about preparing for the evacuation.

Surkovs: poems about a terrible wolf and great love

In 1941, the poet and journalist Aleksey Aleksandrovich Surkov went to the front as a correspondent for the Krasnoarmeiskaya Pravda and Krasnaya Zvezda publications, leaving his wife Sophia, daughter Natasha and son Alyosha at home. Wherever he was, he always found time to write a few lines to his family:

“I really miss and very lonely. How nice it would be to suddenly find yourself in Vnukovo. Apparently, I settled down at home and now it’s hard to come off. How are you? Does it rain tea too, and is it boring too? But I still have a not happy prospect – not knowing anything about you for 15–20 days is very bad! “

(Hereinafter, the texts of the letters are given with the preservation of the author’s spelling and punctuation).

The postcards that Natasha sent to her father have survived – she drew family members, flowers, the city for him. And he wrote poems for her, in which he sometimes explained what war is:

The wolf crawls through the expanses of your land, wants to get your blood, so that our warriors come home, We must kill the evil wolf.

These poems by Alexei Surkov were known only to his relatives. Another poem, also written by him at the front, was later learned by the whole country. These lines, which he wrote in the fall of 1941 in a dugout under an air attack, became a song from the repertoire of the singer Lydia Ruslanova:

The fire is beating in the small stove, On the logs there is tar, like a tear, And an accordion sings to me in the dugout About your smile and your eyes.

The bushes whispered to me about you In the snow-white fields near Moscow. I want you to hear How my living voice yearns.

Surkov sent the manuscript in a soldier’s triangle letter to his wife, who left with the children to evacuate to Chistopol (Tatarstan). The poem “In the dugout” was published in one of the editions and quickly became popular – people copied it by hand and sent it to each other. One of these letters was also found in the museum.

The song “In the Dugout” became a kind of symbol of victory: it sounded in liberated Berlin – at the walls of the defeated Reichstag and at the Brandenburg Gate.

Masainovs: cold and watermelon for name day

Using the Masainov family as an example, the exhibition tells how the children felt during the evacuation, how they missed home and what letters they sent to relatives who remained in their cities. 10-year-old schoolgirl Zoya left with her mother to the city of Chembar, Penza region (now Belinsky). From there she wrote to her father, science fiction writer and critic Boris Alekseevich Masainov, known under the pseudonym Boris Anibal. He almost gave up literary activity, worked at the Moscow garment factory “Trud”. At the time of the outbreak of the war, he was 41 years old, so he did not fall under the draft.

“I don’t go to school as I have a sore throat in a very strong form. Yesterday was my mother’s name day. They expressed themselves in the fact that we ate a green watermelon and drank a glass of tea with such a lump of sugar. Everyone is gradually leaving here. It’s cold outside, I don’t have a winter coat and currency, as well as mittens. I prefer to be ill at home than here anyway, because I am far from machine guns, it does not save me, “the girl wrote in September 1941.

On December 26, her father received a very disturbing letter from her. The daughter said that the Penza military registration and enlistment office called her mother: she knows German, so she can be sent to the front, and Zoya herself – to a boarding school or to Moscow. At the end, Zoya did not forget to wish her parent a Happy New Year.

As a result, the worst thing happened to the family: the mother was not taken to the front, and the girl then returned home to Moscow with her.

The Novikovs: tales about Kostya the bear cub

Pavel Veniaminovich Novikov was the commander of the 175th rifle regiment of the First Moscow proletarian motorized rifle division. Separation from the children, to whom he was very attached, was hard for him. The eldest son Viktor was 11 years old, the youngest German was only four. Before the war, my father spent almost all the time with them, he liked to take the guys with him on a fishing trip. According to his wife’s recollections, Novikov was an excellent father, sensitive and caring, never rude to children.

“Hello, dear Gerochka! I am sending you a game and candy. Play and listen to grandmothers, ”he wrote in September 1941. To cheer up, distract the child from bad thoughts, he composed and sent him fairy tales about the bear Kostya. The first page of the self-made book can be seen at the exhibition.

The eldest son Vitya received completely adult messages with instructions to study well, explanations on how to repair the field bag that his father had sent him, if necessary, and also reminders to wear a warm hat. Separately, dad asked Victor to take care of his younger brother: “Play, but do not offend. He is small and loves concessions, and you are bigger and smarter, and therefore do not annoy him. I kiss you hard. Your dad”.

The children did not wait for their beloved dad. Pavel Novikov died in the same year in the battles for Naro-Fominsk. Now one of the city streets is named in his honor.

The Mochalovs: the last letter to their son

Before the war, Vasily Mikhailovich Mochalov worked as the head of the USSR People’s Commissariat for Procurement in the Rostokinsky District. He was not subject to conscription, since he was considered a valuable specialist, but he did not stand aside: when they announced a gathering in the people’s militia of Moscow, Mochalov was one of the first to file an application. At the front, he took up the position of political instructor of a separate scooter reconnaissance company of the 13th Rostokin division of the people’s militia. Letters home, where his son Gena remained, he tried to write as often as possible.

“Genya! I was told that you were ill … because you did not listen to your mother, you went for a walk naked, that’s why you caught a cold. I beat fascist cannibals like mad dogs, I will soon smash them then I will tell you in detail how I beat them, “he wrote in September 1941.

Literally a few days after sending this letter, Mochalov disappeared without a trace. After the war, his family found out that Vasily Mikhailovich died at the turn of the Dnieper River near the urban-type settlement of Kholm-Zhirkovsky in the Smolensk region.

Kuznetsovs: propaganda songs and the future general

Nikita Efimovich Kuznetsov – senior battalion commissar, head of the political department of the 330th rifle division of the 10th army. A photograph has survived in which, near Smolensk, he, together with his comrades, distributes leaflets to the soldiers with the text of the propaganda song.

Throughout the war, Kuznetsov conducted a tender and touching correspondence with his son Boris, whom he asked from time to time: “Do they sing songs at home?” Carried away by his activities, Nikita Efimovich probably had in mind the songs sung by the Red Army.

“You have become even better at writing,” he praised the child in one of his letters. – That way in a year you will catch up and overtake me. Motors roar over our heads. Noisy at the forefront. We finish off the fascists. Soon Borik will finish them off, and then I will come to you and raise you to be a great great engineer. I agree. And if you want, let’s grow up to be a general of tank forces, so that you command these machines. “

This story has a happy ending. Nikita Efimovich ended the war in Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad), returned home and was reunited with his family.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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