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70 years ago, on September 2, 1945 the Second World War ended.

Near the town of Talin there is a village Lower Bazmaberd, there lives grandfather Azat, a war veteran. Here’s what he said.

– My parents are from Sassoun, and I was born during the migration, in Bassen in 1916. After many wanderings we came to Soviet Armenia. When the war started, I was called to the army. Served in Leninakan, Nakhichevan, Iran, Novorossiysk, Kerch, participated in the liberation of Crimea. On May 18, 1842, we were surrounded, captured. Germans sent the prisoners to Simferopol, then to Zhitomir, to concentration camp of prisoners, and in July they sent us to Poland. On the day we were given 200g. bread, 70% of which was husks and 300g. awful soup. A year later, Soviet prisoners of war were sent to France. One August day American bombers appeared in the sky. The Americans managed to establish control over the territory.

At the beginning of 1944 we were dressed into the American uniform and sent to Italy in Taranto, then to Alexandria, to Cairo. The British treated us well, giving pocket money, even took to watch the Egyptian pyramids. In the spring of 1945 we were sent to Odessa, and after 10 days I was in the Urals, among 40 thousand POWs.

And the endless interrogations began, which were accompanied by provocations and threats. Soon, some of us were released (they were very few), some were exiled, and me and my friends were sent to the front to fight against Japan. When we reached Khabarovsk, we learned that Japan had surrendered, and I was left in the Khabarovsk Territory. Until 1946 I was sent to various construction works, and in December I asked the authorities to send me to Armenia. And on December 22, I was in Armenia. Only my uncle’s wife recognized me, she said: “This is Azat, these are his eyes.”

I’m happy with my fate. Many times I was saved from death, suffered humiliation, stayed hungry, spent hundreds of sleepless nights. And that’s all I have endured for the sake of the homeland. And the protection of the homeland – it is the duty of each of us. I do not take offense at the Germans, who tortured me many times, but this is understandable, I fought against them. But I am deeply offended by the Soviet authorities. They said that I sold my homeland, they put traitor’s stigma on me and sent to die. For what? I have always been loyal to my country and the state, citizen of which I was and for what I was fighting.

Photos by Arsen Sargsyan

Category: #35 (1104) 10.09.2015 - 16.09.2015, News, Spotlight, Pages of History