February, 1943. Fascists retreated from Novyi Oskol area, Velikhomikhailovka village, to Belgorog. They were a real crime, especially for peaceful population, the most part of which was represented with aged people, women, and children, as all young strong men were on the front. The punitive force learned out that two of my grandfather’s brothers were officers served on the front (one was a cavalryman, and the second was a pilot), and rushed into the house. They beat my grandfather, who was only 13 years old, and his father unmercifully with rifle butts. Half-dressed, they were dragged out of the house on snowdrifts. Fascists made them and other people to drive the cattle in direction of Belgorod, to feed their forces. My grandfather’s mother and sisters were kicked by fascists out of the house, locked in the bricked shed as other women in the village, and mined.
The thrilled were turned out in the direction of Belgorod. Military machines, tanks and weapons were driven with them. Snowdrifts were higher than people’s heads. The high road was shelled by Soviet artillery during the whole night. The Soviet column, in which the crowds of aged men, women and children were driven out together with the military equipment, was attacked with bombs from fascist planes. Those, who became detached from the crowd, were killed by shooting immediately.
Late at night they were driven in the village, left by people. The cattle, caws, and calves were taken to the previous Milk Product Firm’s house. All captives were pushed into the empty houses by 10-12 people in each and locked. Sentries were posted outside of the houses. More than 24 hours exhausted people were there without food and water. My grandfather with his two friends was warned: early morning at the dawn – shooting. My great-grandfather, Litovchenko Aleksandr Yefimovich, his neighbor Zabudchenko Vasiliy Ivanovich, and the distance relative Konik Nickolay Nickolayevich (who was more than 80 years old man), told my grandfather and his friends to not sleep, to not muffle up in the straws in the corners of hut, but to be ready and wait for a signal. Aged people spied when the drunken sentry who played on the mouth organ, finally fell asleep. Very quiet, they broke down the window and smothered him. And captives rushed away through the big ravines.
At darkness of the night, in the light of fire-bombs and trace of artillery shells, in the snow so deep up to the waists, half-naked, bearing and supporting each other they were running to Phuschevatoe village, where my great-grandfather’s friends lived. But they couldn’t go out of the valley as the light of a dawn caught them. Fascist saw escaped people and opened a fire from large-caliber machine guns. Owing to the deep ravines and huge snowdrifts, fascists didn’t follow them. On penalty of death, fugitives buried themselves in the snow and waited lying till the darkness.
Starving from hunger, frost-bitten, the fugitives managed to reach Phushevatoe at night, where they were met by friend. He hided them in straw of his shed and in one hour he, taking the risk of his own life, brought them the bucket of boiled potatoes and bucket of boiling water. After they ate he again buried them into the straw.