Stalingrad

Respect for the Fallen 


 
german names
rossoschka

Rossoschka - The German Cemetery

Out on the Steppe, at a place called Rossoschka the road runs through uncultivated fields pitted with fox holes and gun pits. It is here on May 9th May 2002 that I learnt how to drink Vodka the Russian way. Russian veterans meeting two German veterans who we had come across in Volgograd. Tony, Evgeny, Galina (two Galina's in fact!), Paul, Mark, Rosemary and other friends enjoying smoked sturgeon, cold beer and vodka in the hot sun. The image of John and Mike 'sleeping' in the bottom of sun filled fox holes as the vodka did what vodka does.Songs, comradeship and reconciliation.

russian

Rossoschka - Russian Graves

The remarkable woman in the photograph below (right) is Galina Oreschkina. Galina is the prime mover in gathering the fallen from the Stalingrad battlefield and laying them to rest in the Reconciliation Cemetery at Rossoshka. She is a school teacher and is helped in her work by children from the local settlement and by children from elsewhere including some from overseas. Galina is charismatic and formidable - dealing with Russian and German veterans and doing battle with local opportunists who desecrate the battlefield by digging for artifacts.

sign Galina

 Rossoschka

Galina - 9th May 2002

The Russian soldiers wore a glass capsule dog tag container. Sometimes Galina is lucky enough to find an unbroken one with the name and address written on the slip inside. Often the soldiers didn't fill them in because they thought it would be unlucky. The German soldiers wore tags in two halves - one half left with the fallen man, the other to record the casualty. When there is no clear identification Galina says she can tell the nationality of the casualty by the 'feel' of the bones.

bones

 Ready For Burial

The Rossoschka Settlement was destroyed during the war and now this isolated place is the centre for reconciliation. On one side of the road is the original German battlefield cemtery and a massive mass grave built in a circular structure with hundreds of names on the outside. On the other side of the road, Russian graves and a beautiful sculpture of a bowed figure holding a bell.  

school museum

 The School Museum

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