Now and Then - Pskov Liberated

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pskov siege leningrad ww2 russia
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Pskov, Leon Pozemsky street. July 22, 1944 / Pskov, Leon Pozemsky street. August 2021

Soldiers of the 741st Regiment of the 128th Rifle Division advancing towards the river Velikaya and the Pskov Kremlin.

From the diary of the member of the Special Intelligence Group of the 2nd Baltic Front, professional artist Kornely Evgenievich Orlov:

"July 22, 1944. Pskov is taken! Pskov is ours.

July 23, 1944. We're entering the town. Everything is burning, explosions are frequently heard: it's the mines going off. The city is very heavily mined. A lot mines explode all by themselves, the ones with delayed action fuses. The city was very heavily damaged. All of its good buildings have been ruined. We drove all the way to the cathedral but couldn't meet a single civilian. The city is dead. All residents have been deported by the Germans to their rear area.

Life is getting revived as our soldiers are restoring communications. Sappers are demining streets and houses. We walk through some houses and apartments and everything is scattered in disarray. Everything of significant value was stolen by the Germans.

July 24, 1944. Throughout the whole day I met only two persons in the evening who spent all that time hiding in the ruins and finally emerged to the surface. And one cat.

July 25, 1944. We met people from the concentration camp which the Germans organised inside a military encampment: three girls and one boy who told us of the hardships they had to endure.

In the evening cats started to appear. They look feral, cause they didn't appear in the presence of Germans. They shot them just as mercilessly as they shot people.

July 28, 1944. Occasional explosions are still being heard in Pskov - it's the remaining mines that keep going off. I wasn't able to draw a single sketch today due to the lack of time".

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