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That’s me (on the left) with my front-line comrades in 1943. It is inscribed overleaf, ”To my most precious friends – my wife and my daughter, to commemorate hard war days and my front-line soldiers. Yours truly, Yuri. 1943.”

In February 1942 the severest battles started in the village of Zakharkovo. I was wounded in the head, I still have a scar from that wound. I stayed in the hospital for a few months and then returned to our troops.

Before going back to the front I was given a one-week leave for full convalescence. I went to Moscow. The city was devastated, there were neither family nor friends. Finally I was able to find an acquaintance of mine. It was a girl from a senior grade of my school, one year older than me. Her name was Elvira Martirosova. I wouldn’t say that I was in love with her during our school days. We hardly knew each other at that time. Elvira was just the only acquaintance I met after being discharged from the hospital. I was convinced that I would die at war, and it was very important to see somebody I knew before going back to war.

We spent the whole day together. I had to leave in the morning. Elvira suggested staying in her house overnight. That night became our nuptial night. In the morning I knelt to propose to her and besought her to get registered in the marriage registration office.

My wife came to see me off at the train station, straight from the state marriage registration office. I went to the Stalingrad front. I went through the entire war after getting married.

My combat life didn’t become any better, but I wasn’t wounded ever again, I didn’t even receive a scratch. I think it was for the sake of my wife.

Our daughter Tatiana was born in 1943. It is difficult to put my emotions in words. In spite of war, rivers of blood and devastation, a little human being was born – my daughter!

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