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In the front-line forest

The veteran of the Great Patriotic War Maria Cherednichenko from Kostyukovichi has always kept in her memory the concert by Lidia Ruslanova and the Dnepr crossing.

Maria Alexandrovna says that the war tunes have a special melody to her: “These songs are my youth, pain and memory”. Maria Cherednichenko, a front signaler, heard some of the songs performed by Lidia Ruslanova.

- In was in the summer of 1944 in Hungary. At rare moments of peace before or after the battle the time seems to have stopped. Soldiers and officers of our 22nd tank brigade gathered on the glade that became a stage for the singer and a concert hall for us. When Lidia Ruslanova sang “Katyusha”, “Valenki”, “Charming eyes” there was a lump in the throat. Soldiers thought about their families and homes. Then they began to sing along with the Lidia Ruslanova.

Masha who was then seventeen years old met the war in Kharkov where she studied at the trade vocational school. The girl was coming back from the graduation party when her neighbor told them about this horrible news. Some days later together with other teenagers Masha started in the direction of Chernigov by train – to dig trenches. But the train was bombed. The girl had to save herself. She reached her parents’ house in the village of Hripun, not far from Kharkov. From there she started for the east.

- The tank brigade where I got to was disassembled several times. My baptism of fire was at the Kursk Bulge. I was a signaler: I delivered letters for soldiers at the front line and provided telephone connection.

- 10 years after the Victory Maria Cherednichenko chose not to talk about the war. It is impossible to describe how the Soviet Army forced a crossing over the Dnepr by Kiev. The death of her friend Nina Tarelkina remained a never-healing wound in her heart. It happened in Czechoslovakia. The Soviet victory was very close. The main body of the army formation went forward. Nina who was very kind and sympathetic stayed to help the wounded with a brigade commander among them. They did not arrive to the dislocation by the evening. Their bodies were brought the following day. Nina’s body was mutilated: fascists broke her fingers and cut out the war medals from her soldier's blouse together with the body parts. After the war Maria Cherednichenko tried to find Nina’s relatives but without any success.

After the Victory Maria Alexandrovna got married and got the diploma of the trade vocational school. She lived in Lida. At the early 1960-s her family moved to Kostyukovichi. She says her life is happy. “I have got two sons, six grandchildren, five great grandchildren. I am often visited and assisted by social workers and school children. I am invited to celebrations. The war is the most terrible thing in the world. We should value our peaceful life and protect it in order to be sure of the future.”

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