2-6-2004

 

Yuliya Vladimirovna Drunina

or Yulia Drunina

Юлия Владимировна Друнина

1924 - 1991

 

 

Julia Drunina

Я только раз видала рукопашный.
Раз - наяву и сотни раз во сне.
Кто говорит, что на войне не страшно,
Тот ничего не знает о войне.
 

I only saw hand-to hand fighting once.

Once for real. And a thousand times in dreams.

Whoever says that war isn't frightening

Simply knows nothing about war.

 

LINKS:

Poems in Russian:

                                                          

 

 

О, Россия!

С нелегкой судьбою страна...

У меня ты, Россия,

Как сердце, одна.

Я и другу скажу,

Я скажу и врагу -

Без тебя,

Как без сердца,

Прожить не смогу...

 

 

O Russia, paese dal destino non facile

Per me, Russia, sei come il cuore, unica

lo dirņ a tutti, all'amico e al nemico,

senza di te č come senza il cuore, non si puņ vivere.

 

 

 

Я ушла из детства в грязную теплушку,
В эшелон пехоты, в санитарный взвод.
Дальние разрывы слушал и не слушал
Ко всему привыкший сорок первый год.

Я пришла из школы в блиндажи сырые,
От Прекрасной Дамы в "мать"
и "перемать"
Потому что имя ближе, чем "Россия",
Не могла сыскать.

 

    I left my schoolgirl childhood in a dirty freight car

    With an army med squad, all my hopes undone,

    To the muffled booming of the distant battles then,

    In the tired indifference of 1941.

 

 

    I left the classroom cheer for a damp dug-out

    And poetic lyrics -- for the soldiers' deadly oaths

    'Cause I knew my homeland would never cringe or lout

    The sacred name of Russia foremost in my thoughts.

 

 

 

 

ЗИНКА

 

Памяти однополчанки - Героя Советского Союза Зины Самсоновой. 

 

1.

Мы легли у разбитой ели.

Ждем, когда же начнет светлеть.

Под шинелью вдвоем теплее

На продрогшей, гнилой земле.

 

- Знаешь, Юлька, я - против грусти,

Но сегодня она не в счет.

Дома, в яблочном захолустье,

Мама, мамка моя живет.

У тебя есть друзья, любимый,

У меня - лишь она одна.

Пахнет в хате квашней и дымом,

За порогом бурлит весна.

 

Старой кажется: каждый кустик

Беспокойную дочку ждет...

Знаешь, Юлька, я - против грусти,

Но сегодня она не в счет.

 

Отогрелись мы еле-еле.

Вдруг приказ: "Выступать вперед!"

Снова рядом, в сырой шинели

Светлокосый солдат идет.

 

  2

 

С каждым днем становилось горше.

Шли без митингов и знамен.

В окруженье попал под Оршей

Наш потрепанный батальон.

 

Зинка нас повела в атаку.

Мы пробились по черной ржи,

По воронкам и буеракам

Через смертные рубежи.

 

Мы не ждали посмертной славы.-

Мы хотели со славой жить.

...Почему же в бинтах кровавых

Светлокосый солдат лежит?

 

Ее тело своей шинелью

Укрывала я, зубы сжав...

Белорусские ветры пели

О рязанских глухих садах.

 

  3

 

- Знаешь, Зинка, я против грусти,

Но сегодня она не в счет.

Где-то, в яблочном захолустье,

Мама, мамка твоя живет.

 

У меня есть друзья, любимый,

У нее ты была одна.

Пахнет в хате квашней и дымом,

За порогом стоит весна.

 

И старушка в цветастом платье

У иконы свечу зажгла.

...Я не знаю, как написать ей,

Чтоб тебя она не ждала?!

 

1944

 

ZINKA

 

in Memory of a Soldier, Hero of the Soviet Union, From My Unit

    (*)              

 

   We lay down by the broken fir tree

   To wait for the first light of dawn.

   Under one greatcoat we kept warm

   On the chilled, damp ground.

 

   "You know, Yul'ka, I seldom am sad

   But I do feel so sad today:

   Home, far away, amidst apple orchards

   My old mother waits for me.

 

 

 

 

 

   "To her it seems that every tiny bush

   Pines for her restless daughter.

   You know, Yul'ka, I seldom am sad

   But I do feel so sad today."

 

   We had barely time to warm up

   When came the sudden marching order.

   Again, in a greatcoat beside me

   Marched the fair-haired soldier.

 

 

 

   Without singing, pep talks or colours

   Our division went into battle,

   And our battered battalion

   Was surrounded in Poles'ye.

 

   Our Zinka led us in the attack.

   We broke through a black field of rye,

   Running across bomb craters and gullies

   Toward death-dealing enemy trenches.

 

   We didn't seek posthumous fame --

   Wanting to live covered with glory!

   So why the blood-soaked bandages

   On the prone fair-haired soldier?

 

   I clenched my teeth as I covered

   Her still body with my greatcoat,

   And Belorussian winds mournfully sang

   Of far-away apple orchards in Ryazan'...

 

 

 

   "You know, Zinka, I seldom am sad,

    But I do feel so sad today:

    At home, far away, amidst apple orchards

    Your old mother waits for you.

 

    "I've friends and I've a lover,

    But you were her only daughter.

    The cabin smells of bread dough and smoke;

    Spring is seething beyond the door."

 

    In a flowered dress, the old woman

    Lit up a candle in front of an icon ...

    I just can't bring myself to write her

    And tell her not to wait for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Верность

 

 

Вы останетесь в памяти - эти спокойные сосны, 
И ночная Пахра, и дымок над далёким плотом. 
Вы останетесь в сердце, мои подмосковные вёсны, 
Что б с тобой ни случилось, что со мной ни случится потом. 
 
 
Может, встретишь ты женщину лучше, умнее и краше, 
Может, сердце моё позабудет об этой любви. 
Но, как сосны, - корнями с отчизной мы спаяны нашей: 
Покачни нас, попробуй! Сердца от неё оторви! 
 
 

1955

 

LOYALTY

You will remain in my memory,
You tranquil pines, and such things
As the nocturnal Pakhra,
The smoke o'er the distant raft there.
You will remain in my heart
My suburban Moscow springs,
Whatever happens to you,
And may happen to me hereafter.
Maybe you'll meet some girl 
More lovely, more wise, or more dear. 
Maybe my heart
Will forget about its first love. 
But like pines
with their roots 
We are knit with our Motherland here:
Shake us,
And try
Our hearts from her to remove!

Translated by Walter May

 

 

Life for me hardly flowed like a magnificent river - 
For there wasn't enough of peace and quiet, no never!
In a soldier's hard lot could miss be any time reckoned?... 
Yes, there was such a minute! Yes, there was such a second! 


In the trenches the minute before battle would claim you, 
For a second life's beauty more than ever enflamed you.
Blade of grass on the breastwork, piercing lovely with life-thirst! 
Oh, how lovely!... Then peace is ripped apart by a shell-burst! 


There were shells, there were mines, but you and I were both spared. 
And our love walked beside us-as the long road we shared. 
If it did not then leave us, by all means it won't now, 
At long last my poor heart can be at peace anyhow. 


I'm at peace with you, dearest-so at peace with you, dearest, 
As I was... in the trenches, when a battle was nearest.

Translated by Gladys Evans.

Жизнь моя не катилась

Величавой рекою -

Ей всегда не хватало

Тишины и покою.

Где найдешь тишину ты

В доле воина трудной?..

Нет, бывали минуты,

Нет, бывали секунды:

За минуту до боя

Очень тихо в траншее,

За секунду до боя

Очень жизнь хорошеет.

Как прекрасна травинка,

Что на бруствере, рядом!

Как прекрасна!.. Но тишь

Разрывает снарядом.

 

Нас с тобой пощадили

И снаряды и мины.

И любовь с нами в ногу

Шла дорогою длинной.

А теперь и подавно

Никуда ей не деться,

А теперь наконец-то

Успокоится сердце.

Мне спокойно с тобою,

Так спокойно с тобою,

Как бывало в траншее

За минуту до боя.

 

 

 

 

(*) SAMSONOVA, ZINAIDA (ZINA) ALEKSANDROVNA (14 October 1923 - 27 January 1944). Senior Sergeant. Battalion Medical NCO of the 667th Rifle Regiment/218th Romodan-Kiev Division/47th Army. Was awarded the Gold Star and title of Hero of the Soviet Union on 3 June 1944, posthumously.

Born in Bobkovo/Yegor'yevskiy District/Moscow Region, Samsonova was seventeen when the German-Soviet hostilities began on 22 June 1941. From the beginning of the war, she was determined to serve at the front. After attending nursing courses at the Yegor'yevsk Medical School, she arrived in her unit in the fall of 1942, around the time of the Battle for Stalingrad.

With bombs and shells exploding all around her, Samsonova administered first aid to the wounded, removed them to safety from the battlefield, and kept returning to save others. She never waited for the fighting to stop before she ventured onto the battlefield to evacuate the wounded, and dressed wounds quickly and competently, saving many lives. Her comrades found her easy to work with. Cheerful and lively, she was successful in calming down her patients, always found ways of delivering them to the regimental medical post, and managed to obtain the best dugout for her battalion medical post. Short but sturdy and well-built, Samsonova, accustomed to hardships, demonstrated the staying power of a Russian peasant; she didn't tire easily and was not afraid of frost. On a march she had no difficulty in keeping up with male soldiers and often ran beside their marching column, trying to cheer them up. She treated them from time to time to a thermos of hot tea or a flask of vodka, which she obtained from the logistical unit.

On 24 September 1943, on the Voronezh Front, she crossed the Dnieper River to the right bank on a pontoon with the first-wave volunteer platoon, by the village of Sushki, south of Pekara, in Kanev District of Cherkassk Region, near the grave of the famous Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. Here she looked after the wounded, fired her submachine gun, and threw hand grenades to keep the enemy at bay.

On 26 and 27 September the enemy tried to dislodge, at all costs, the small group of Russians, including Samsonova, from the right bank. The enemy counterattacked eight times; under constant mortar and machine-gun fire Samsonova removed to safety thirty severely wounded men. In order to save their lives, she had to transport them to the left bank. She kept loading them into pontoons. After reaching the left bank, she transferred them to carts, which were sent to the river bank by a medical company, and subsequently she jumped into a pontoon for a return trip.

On 27 September, near Pekara, the enemy mounted a final attack. The small group of Russian troops, equipped with some ammunition and captured grenades, held on to the bridgehead, preparing it for the arrival of the main elements. In October, Samsonova, a member of this group, was recommended by the commanding officer of her regiment for the award of the Gold Star and title of Hero of the Soviet Union for her bravery and coolness under fire. Her divisional commander endorsed the recommendation in November. The endorsements of the corps and army commanders followed. However, by the time the recommendation for the award was endorsed at the highest level, on 3 June 1944, Samsonova was no longer among the living.

Her exploits legendary, she had survived, without a scratch, the fighting of the Battle of Stalingrad and on the Voronezh Front, as well as the hell of the Dnieper River crossings. Jokingly referred to as "our battalion commander," she was always in the lead and when a girl is in the lead, how could a man display fear? Her grey eyes calm, she urged those who went to ground to get up -- after all, eventually they were going to have plenty of time to lie in it!

With her unit, Samsonova advanced to Kanev, Kiev, and Zhitomir in Ukraine. Then, after a brief rest, during which new recruits, such as the future poet Yuliya Drunina, then only seventeen, joined Samsonova's battalion, her division was transferred to Belorussia (Belarus'). Drunina and Samsonova were the only female soldiers in the battalion and inevitably soon became inseparable: they slept together under the same greatcoat and ate from the same mess-tin. During periods of calm, Samsonova listened with great interest to Drunina's readings of Blok's and Yesenin's poems.

On 26 January 1944, during the fighting for the village of Kholm of Domanichovitskiy District/Poles'ye Region, Samsonova as usual advanced in the lead. Subsequently, one of the battalion companies went on a reconnaissance-in-force mission at night. In the morning, when the soldiers retreated to the trenches, a wounded man's moans carried from the no-man's land. Instead of waiting for darkness to set in, Samsonova decided to reach him still in daylight. Crawling, and at times running in short bounds, she reached the soldier, dressed his head wound and was about to begin dragging him toward the positions of friendly troops. Meanwhile, an enemy sniper had been watching her for some time. The distance between them was small and he must have been aware that she was a nurse and was bandaging the head of a wounded man. He apparently waited until Samsonova was finished and then killed her and the wounded man in cold blood with two rounds. The entire battalion was shaken up upon learning of Samsonova's death.

She was buried in the village of Ozarichi, in the vicinity of which she had fallen, in Kalininkovichevskiy District of Poles'ye Region. A Museum of Combat Glory in Kolychevo of Yegor'yevskiy District was named after Samsonova, as were streets in Ozarichi and Kolychevo, the medical detachment of Moscow's "Emitron" Plant and a Young Pioneer squad at her school.

In 1946, Lieutenant L. Krivoshchekov, a medical officer and Samsonova's former comrade-in-arms, experienced, in his words, "a kind of miracle." A starved book lover who was awaiting a transfer to the reserves, he dropped into a public library in L'vov (currently Lviv and the capital of the former Polish Province of Eastern Ma-opolska). Upon picking up a magazine off a table and opening it at random, he was astonished to find there a poem entitled "Zinka: in Memory of a Soldier, Hero of the Soviet Union, From My Unit." It was written in 1944 by the "newcomer," poet Yuliya Drunina! She had composed the poem as a vehicle for expressing the grief and pain she was experiencing due to the untimely death of her friend and comrade-in-arms. (Years later, she was to confess that she proved incapable of writing a letter to Samsonova's mother, Mariya Maksimovna, to tell her the details of her daughter's death.) Krivoshchekov, in an emotional and incoherent fashion, told an old woman librarian the story of the poem. Moved, she presented him with the magazine.

Eventually, Drunina became a famous poet and member of the Soviet Parliament. Her war experience made a deep, long-lasting and painful impression on her and she became accustomed to taking tranquilizers. An enthusiastic supporter of Yel'tsin during the coup of August 1991, she was soon to react with great anguish to the new Russian reality. In particular, the new contempt for World War II veterans proved too painful for her and she ended her own life by inhaling carbon monoxide in her garage on 21 November 1991.

(From Soviet Women Soldiers in World War II )