The penal battalion of Bendery
Big blank spaces in the history of the Second World War are filling even nowadays. This period is called the Great Patriotic War in the countries of the former Soviet Union.
The researchers of the historical and natural history museum of Bendery have promulgated the interesting fact about the unknown liberators of the town. The hardened battles for Bendery were at the August 1944. Penal soldiers were in the first rows. Nobody talked about them before.
- Attitudes towards penal soldiers were negative undeservedly, - the research worker of the museum Vladimir Perstnev noticed. - Their contribution to the Victory has been concealed for a long time. According to the official version Bendery was freed by the three infantry divisions. But the 5th penal battalion and three penal companies fought there in August 1944. They assaulted the height 50.00 (or the Suvorov mountain, as it is called in the town) with great losses. They attacked without any compulsion. Last years the chief of staff of the 5th penal battalion Ivan Yarokurtsev went at the every anniversary of Bendery freedom. He had always brought flowers to the Common grave, where his soldiers were buried with the other perished ones. He felt the great respect towards penal soldiers. They fought brave and frank. Then every military man could be punished and sent to the penal battalion for the least fault. His relatives also suffered. Mothers, wives, children of penal soldiers never came to Bendery. May be they weren't told where their sons, husbands, fathers had been buried. But the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Iosif Stalin thanked the penal soldiers in his order in honor of the liberation of Bendery.
What do young inhabitants of the town know about the Great Patriotic War? Can they name its participants, recollect the heroes, especially the liberators of their parts? Do they like watching films and reading books of this War?
- I consider that we must remember the feat of arms of the Soviet people, - the 3-year student of the Transnistrian University Evgenii Shmelev said. - Every Soviet family suffered in this War. My grandfather Piotr Sgerskii went Berlin in May 1945.
- My grandfather Ivan Vashchenko overcame the Leningrad blockade, - the 11th form pupil of gymnasium №2 Stanislaw Sokolov said. - And grandmother's uncle had perished at the battle-front.
Almost all respondents named correctly the heroes of the Great Patriotic War. The teenagers know the town liberators' names. They adore soviet films and books of the War. School-leavers often choose this topic during final examinations.
:About 1200 veterans of the War live in Transdniester. Every year these old soldiers leave us for ever. But the memorial Ethernal Fire continues to flame.
Here lie "penal soldiers", who liberated the town in august of 1944.