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Remains of soldiers killed in WW2 battles for Koenigsberg reburied

Published time: July 28, 2007 21:40
Edited time: July 28, 2007 21:40

Twelve Soviet Soldiers who died at the end of the Second World War in the battles for Koenigsberg, now Kaliningrad, have been reburied. But until recently the temporary resting place of the remains of the 12, along with 33 others, was the garage of the pe

The remains were found at the site of the historic battles more than a year ago. People who didn't even know each other have been united by something which is long in the past. In 1945 their fathers and grandfathers lost their lives in the fighting around Koenigsberg. They travelled two hours by plane to Kaliningrad and  another hour by car to Bagrationovsk, where the remains of 45 Soviet Soldiers were discovered a year and a half ago.

The story became something of a scandal. Local searchers who found the remains, informed the authorities, but no action followed, and the head of the search team had to store the remains in his garage. Only the efforts of journalists, the prosecutor's office and the governor managed to get things moving.

“I don't know why many remains weren't reburied. All was only verbally. The last names were marked on new memorials, but the remains were left in the same place. Now it's a very serious problem in the region,” Ruslan Hisamov, chief of search team 'Conscience', said.

Nelly Chechetkina, daughter of Captain  
            Chechyotkin
Nelly Chechetkina, daughter of Captain Chechyotkin
Captain Semyon Chechyotkin died near Koenigsberg in March 1945. His daughter Nelly and granddaughter Anna applied to the archives and contacted the Defence Ministry, but couldn't find him. Luckily they got to know about the discovered remains. Now his name is stamped on the common grave in Bagrationovsk.

“We've been waiting for so long. Sixty years! He'd lived through the whole war, and after that mother brought us up alone, also like at the front. And we grew up dignified people,” Nelly Chechetkina, daughter of Captain Chechyotkin said, crying.

Anatoly Korchinsky, himself a military man who served in Afghanistan, began his search for his father's grave in the mid-1950s. He got his first clue 20 years ago, confirming that his father lost his life in March 1945, but saying nothing about where he was buried.

“Our troops were there, near Berlin, and there was an order to take Koenigsberg promptly. There was the cruellest fighting here, all forces were sent here. That's why this soil is hallowed with blood,” Anatoly Korchinsky, son of private Ivan Korchinsky, said.

Anatoly Korchinsky, son of private Ivan 
            Korchinsky
Anatoly Korchinsky, son of private Ivan Korchinsky

Out of the 45 soldiers found in Bagrationovsk region only 12 have been identified. Veterans, searchers and local authorities gathered on the central square to pay their respects. The soldiers were buried in the Orthodox tradition. Military men performed a traditional salute.

The battle for Koenigsberg in the early spring of 1945 cost the lives of more than 150,000 Soviet soldiers. Unidentified remains still lie across the land. Tens of thousands have been found, but many more are waiting their turn.

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