Zhores Alferov: “something horrible is happening to humanity”

Zhores Alferov. © /

Photo: Eugene Biyatov

/ RIA Novosti

This year marks 75 years of the battle of Stalingrad, and the next, 2nd February, the whole country will celebrate the end and a victory in this pivotal battle of the great Patriotic war. But the theme itself is terrible in our country’s history of war, as it turned out, is in the public different opinions.

I must say that in the worst of times: and in the forty-first, when the Germans came close to Moscow and blockaded Leningrad, and in forty-two, when the Nazis invaded Stalingrad and in the Caucasus were, – we never doubted our victory.
(From the book “Science and society”)

Zhores Alferov

It became clear after a November speech in the Bundestag, student of Novy Urengoy Nicholas Desyatnichenko. It caused a heated discussion online and on Russian TV. In the careless words of a boy about the “innocent victims” in the Soviet captive soldiers of the Wehrmacht someone saw an attempt to “rehabilitation of Nazism”, although the guy only talked about the need to show mercy and try never to allow such a horrible war.

The performance of The student is not left indifferent and Nobel laureate, the famous Soviet and Russian physicist Zhores Alferov. He called the newspaper and shared his thoughts on this subject.


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“The difficult conditions here at anything”

– Actually, the boy played in the Bundestag is a good sign. I welcome when children are given the opportunity to speak in Parliament. And when the youth begins to fight for peace is too great. It was always true and remains relevant in our days, because the danger of a major war still exists.

What is really said Russian schoolboy before the Bundestag?

However, I do not think that in the near future a possible nuclear conflict. It is unlikely that North Korea will go to a direct armed confrontation with the United States. It will also be demonstrations and provocation, but no more. But hybrid war, when the attacking side does not resort to classic military invasion are today all over the planet.

But after the speech If Desyatnichenko, a wave rose on the Internet: we say, almost destroyed an innocent German prisoners of war, intentionally kept them in horrible conditions, so they died there. I repeatedly had a chance to chat with former prisoners of war, so I decided to speak out. In addition, the soldiers talked about student from the New Urengoy – a Johann Georg Rau, died in a pow camp in Beketovka. But for me the Beketovka is a special place. Is the southern suburbs of Stalingrad, we lived there before the war. But my elder brother later fought there – he was a participant of the Stalingrad battle, the 75th anniversary of the victory in which we will soon celebrate.

Stalingrad during the war, defended the two armies – 62-I, under the command of Chuikov and the 64th, under command Shumilova. Shumilova army defended the southern part of the city, and it was easier than army Chuikov. My older brother graduated from the Sverdlovsk infantry school and came in 96 th separate brigade of naval infantry. They threw in Beketovka in mid-October 1942. The objective was to join the army Shumilova with the army Chuikov. To do so they failed. But the army Shumilova were able to capture large groups of Germans, thereby facilitating the position of the army Chuikov.

“Go far”. Users of social networks — about the speech of the student in the Bundestag

The Germans were surrounded, and they have many times since the first of Dec, they offered to surrender. But they all refused. They supplied their own aircraft, planes brought food, which, of course, is not enough. By the time of the battle of Stalingrad from the Nazi group of 300 thousand people there are about 80 thousand And it was half dead, frost-bitten mass of the people. Is it any wonder that, once captured, many of them died? Didn’t die from “severe conditions of captivity”, as reported in its report of the Urengoy student, but because they are by the time everyone was dohlyaki. They were captured barely alive. And harsh conditions here. And, of course, contain a number of prisoners of war the Soviet Union was not easy – we have to Stalingrad this experience was not simple.

Probably one of the most interesting assessments of the fighting in Stalingrad at this time gave a conservative British newspaper “daily Telegraph”, published January 18, 1943 report by its correspondent from Stalingrad: “Here, on the outskirts of Europe, where start the Asian deserts, some great guards division and units of the local militia, which became mighty, bleeding heart all over Russia saved European culture, and thus, can be, and our England.” (From the book “Science and society”)

Zhores Alferov

“And I became a friend of your country”

In 1966 I was on a business trip in Germany. I had invitations to many laboratories in this country, and in February I arrived in Braunschweig is a city close to Wolfsburg. There we went to the Philharmonic, and then sat down in a cafe. The translator gave the waiter our order. He looked at me, realized I was Russian and in Russian asked: “You are from Soviet Union?” I said, “Yes.” Then he asked another waiter to take the service of his tables, and he sat down to us. And here is what he said.

“Before the war I was a member of the Hitler youth, he said, then joined the party. I according to their beliefs was a complete fascist. A young man of 22 June 1941 I crossed the border of the Soviet Union in the German armed forces. I almost reached Moscow, then fought North of Stalingrad. By 1944 I was chief Lieutenant, he commanded a battalion. But near Bobruisk I was badly wounded and I was captured. If not for the injury, I would not let myself be captured, I would shoot myself.

In captivity I was cured. And then I was in a pow camp in Minsk.”


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Then I asked him: “In the building of the Belarusian Opera house?” “Yes.” “I lived opposite, I say. – And I remember this camp. Remember, our grandmother would often give the prisoners bread. And I’m sure you all know how much Belarus has suffered from the Nazis. And we who remained to the end a fascist, tried and executed. In February 1946, we put 16 of the Nazis on the track in Minsk. I was in the front row at the gallows. And any pity I have for him was not! I was standing at the gallows Robert Koch, who at the trial said: “You are all bad people, you all need to destroy! I am in your country killed 300 people and I regret that so little!” And when we hung up, he felt satisfaction. However, prisoners we had a very different attitude.”

The waiter continued: “Yes, I know that to us you treated well. Although often ate slightly better than us. I remember how we, together and you, the winners, and we, prisoners of war, restored your ruined city, the same Minsk. While in captivity, I loved your country and became her friend.”

Another story. I spent six months working in the USA, at the University of Illinois. There was one medical institution, which was headed by a German, also a former Soviet prisoner of war. He graduated in Munich three year of medical school, after which he was called, not allowing to complete their education. He was captured, was in a camp in Azerbaijan, where he had serious intestinal disease. It also put in the hospital, cured, and released. Then he took up medical practice and went to the United States.

And this man is also very warm attitude to our country and to our people, particularly to me. When he learned that my son was born, he’s from America sent us all sorts of baby onesies, wrote many letters to our family. He has become a true friend.

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Another former prisoner of war I met in Brazil on a business trip. To say that Brazilians are very proud that they participated in the Second world war on the allied side. When we had lunch, the table was German. He stood up and said to me: “You know, I fought in Hitler’s army, was captured, and I can assure you that there treated me like a person. Since I’m a friend of the Soviet Union.”

I met the prisoners in other places. And they are all warm, friendly attitude to our country. Even former Nazis. In Germany, it was guaranteed: if you get to former prisoner of war, he definitely will be good located. Moreover, they all emphasized that, thanks to humane attitude to them changed their views. After all, they knew were in German prisoner of war with the Soviet people – the most cruel, inhumane way, and naturally expect the same attitude to them. And received quite the opposite. This changed their worldview.

And I want our young people today knew about it. This is important, it will help them to understand, in what country, among what kind of people they live.

Why Russia are treated rudely?

Sure, the boy from Novy Urengoy should not present special claims. He had to cut his speech, and uttered his speech just wasn’t well-composed. On the other hand, it could still be better prepared, think that it is necessary to remove and what to leave, to imagine how these would sound with the podium and how will be perceived.

After this incident, began to sound views that we have dropped the quality of the teaching of history in schools, especially during the great Patriotic war. Don’t know, in my Lyceum “Physical-technical school” Academic University teaching of history, everything is in order. But for the whole country can’t speak.

But it’s not just in teaching. Why is television sometimes voiced by the odious point of view? Not for myself, of course, but still… for Example, show the young pole, who tells the camera: “You invaders! The Soviet Union, Poland was not liberated and captured. Therefore, it is necessary to demolish all monuments established by the Soviet authorities, and are we doing this now”. Why not remind him that just as Poland had an agreement with Nazi Germany to attack the Soviet Union? And our country lost 600 thousand soldiers liberating Poland from the Nazis! Or they are not happy that it happened that they were released from inhuman regime?! Yes, even attached to them notable piece of Prussian lands! In what is today Poland is a fairly large area of the state, the merit of the Soviet Union. How could they forget that?


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And the reason for such ungrateful attitude to Russia that the Polish authorities are trying their best to praise them from overseas, patted on the head. They believe that Russia is now humiliated and she can turn rude. But for centuries Poland was part of Russia. We are two great Slavic people, who have always had a lot of relationships, creating a common culture, and we should live in peace and not in enmity. Yes, you can hold any political views, to believe that capitalism is a good economic system, and you want you had it. But you can’t and have no right to rewrite history! It is a historical fact, and anywhere you from it will not disappear: it was the Red army brought freedom to Poland and its independence.

In General, something horrible is happening to humanity. As I said, the world is a huge number of hybrid wars. They become the basis of the interests of some groups. Sometimes it’s someone else’s national interests, but the interests of smaller groups within Nations. The Union at the time prevented such processes, manifestations of-separatism. After all, he is, by definition, been an international country, a Union of national republics. Modern Russia is, in my opinion, not enough is consistently pursuing this policy.

And I am by nature an internationalist. Otherwise it can not be in me so many bloods mixed! And I am forced to look at what is happening in neighboring Ukraine. I used to come there every year. After all, it killed my older brother. He is buried in a mass grave in Cherkasy region.

From a stele with a list buried in a mass grave. 2003. Photo: from the book by Zh. Alferov “Science and society”

“You’re not sharing!”

My brother’s name was Marx. He died in the last days of the Korsun-Shevchenko battle in the village khyl’ky. He passed the most difficult battle of the great Patriotic war: Stalingrad, Kursk bulge and, finally, the Korsun-Shevchenko battle. This battle ended on February 17, 1944, and before – 15 Feb – Marczyk died. How he died we do not know. Was just a death notice, then I received a letter which again was confirmed that he fell in the battles for the Motherland as mother continued to send requests, still hoping for something. The responses were repeated from one standard text: died in the battle for the socialist Motherland…

In 1956, I decided to go in khyl’ky together with Boris Petrovich Zakharchenya, my comrade-in-MIPT.

Khyl’ky is a small village. At the center is a large mass grave. Standard stands the figure of the soldier-machine gunner, white, gypsum. While we were looking around, came grandmother, we talked with them, and they told me how there was a terrible battle as they hid in the underground. In this one village was burned dozens of German tanks. And next, they said, there is a village komarivka – Komarivka, as they say. Between these two villages lies a large field, it is called Boikove field. We were told that it killed five thousand Germans, and three thousand of ours. Then, together, we silently stood at the grave…

At the grave of his brother. The Village Khyl’ky Ukraine. 1956. Photo: from the book by Zh. Alferov “Science and society”

The second time I visited the grave of his brother in 1969. I was in business trip in Ukraine together with comrade Dmitry Nikolaevich Tretyakov. When we got home, I suggested: “let’s go in khyl’ky!” Dima does not take much to likening we did.

And that’s what I will never forget. We went to the grave where I once was. And I stand at the grave. And Dima near me. Grandma came and, turning to me, said, “what you’re doing tomb? Or someone from the family is here?”

She didn’t answer, and he said it killed my brother and he is buried in this tomb.

– Brother? For our village? In our grave?

Post memory. 70 years for the mass grave care one family

Half an hour later came the whole village. They brought tables. They put next to the mass graves of these tables, brought a brew, a snack, and the whole village a village celebrate a Wake for my brother.

It was twelve hours in the day. We stayed there until six in the evening! We gave speeches and toasts, we sang war songs. In parting, the villagers gave me a bag in which were two bottles of home brew for my dad, prunes and dried fruits for mom. Said the mother, hypertension, and prunes lowers blood pressure. And gave a large Ukrainian shawl. Also for mom. For memory.

The whole village went to accompany us to the bus. Until then they didn’t know me, and I’ve never seen before. But now we’ve broken up as a family. They again and again talked about the brutal battles that went on in these places. A young girl of eighteen, Secretary of the Komsomol organization of the collective farm, gave me a book in the Ukrainian language about Korsun-Shevchenko battle. This book and now stored at my house.

Since then I came every year in khyl’ky, they become an honorary citizen. In 2013 I spent in Kyiv the meeting of the SKOLKOVO Advisory Board. And when the scientific agenda was exhausted, I suggested that everyone, including foreign scholars, to go to the Cherkasy region, in khyl’ky. Of course, there we were very warmly received. My American colleague, Professor and Nobel laureate Roger Kornberg, mingle with the locals, told me the words that are now as relevant as ever: “Zhores, you’re one of the people! You’re not sharing!”

Capital No. 9 (97), December 26, 2017
Published JSC “Arguments and Facts”

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