The Eve of the Storm

Echelons of the Red Army

We were watching the marching troops for almost a week and were mixing with the Red Army men, communicated with them and even got used to the fact that every new day would start with the morning meeting with the army. A long military column would begin at the ramp, move along Menzhinsky Street, turn to Pushkinskaya Street, walk along it and then along 17 Sentyabrya (Lenin) Street, turn left to Kashtanovaya Street in the direction of the fortress. The movement was demonstrative to the city inhabitants.

The soldiers marched along the streets of Brest not knowing what was ahead of them. In less than two months the war broke off. Some of them would disappear forever, “gone missing”, some would remain in history as defenders of the Brest Fortress. Some of them would die in the first days of defence, and some would go through the Nazi camps, and as it often happened in Stalin’s camps.

Translated from Russian by Leo Levine and Sofia Levine