Saturday, August 22, 2009


I just got back from speaking to the Oklahoma Chapter of the "Friends of Ukraine" in OKC. They paid for my lunch (Porogi, similar to cheese raviolli) and I gave a short 20 minute speech on my trip to Ukraine and my impressions as a "true" American.

The speech went well and everyone seemed to enjoy it. The lunch was great too.

The best part was this guy I met. I can't pronounce his name (never mind spelling it), but he had some awesome stories of his own. This gentleman was from around east-central Ukraine. I told him what I did and he really lit up. He told me repeatedly how much he loved US soldiers and the US. After we talked more I found out why.

This gentleman was liberated from a concentration camp/factory in the Hartz Mountains by US soldiers in 1945.

When he was about 13 or so, the Germans invaded the USSR. They had driven to his area of Ukraine with a couple of SS Panzer Divisions. The Red Army had been smashed up pretty bad and was trying everything to stop the Germans. The Soviet Commissars rounded up every male 14 and older and marched them to the front to fight. No training, equipment (other than rifles and ammo) or support. The man said that he lost one brother in this fight. The other brother survived and retreated with the Red Army. He heard after the war that his brother had been wounded 11 times during the war and the last time they sent him back in before he had healed and he was killed. Since this gentleman was not old enough he stayed in the village and ended up behind German lines. He told me how the next village over was wiped out as a reprisal for a Insurgent attack on some SS. They rounded up 180 people, herded them into a church and burned it down with everyone inside. THey took him and all the other boys and impressed them into a forced labor battalion. They were the ones who dug the tunnels were the ME262s were built. Another crew they were barracked next too dug and ran the V2 tunnels and another one was working on the German Atomic Bomb program (not much was really done other than dig some work areas, the Germans were way to far behind in development to do much more). US troops liberated him and about 15000 prisoners (his count).

Talking with him made my whole day worthwhile. Its nice to hear nice things about US troops and to hear someone make the point that US troops have never herded people into churches and burned them down, or impressed young boys as slave labor to dig tunnels for weapons projects, or gathered a bunch of civilians together, tossed them rifles and said "Charge those Tanks" (although our militia troops have ended up doing about that good, difference there is that all the militia volunteered). This guy had some great history to share and I am really glad he did.

Hearing stories like this make me glad to live in the US and prouder to be defending it.


  1. Yeah. This gentleman said that out of 18,000 men and boys the commissars rounded up to fight, less than 500 survived the battle and most of them died later. I just can't register mentally how you can do that. Must be the American in me.

  2. Hrmmm, I should have put in the cavot "In this Century" as we have burned down churches (but without people in them, US Civil War) and used impressed labor (US Civil War, both sides did).