On June 22, 1941, the day when Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, Vsevolod Grigoryevich Kozorez was a 15-year old kid from a little town Putivl in Sumy region of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. He remembers that day well, and tells in detail about how the radio announced that the war began and about the Nazi air raids against the cities of USSR. The days when Soviet men went to the frontline are forever stamped in his memory. Vsevolod Kozorez will never forget the days when the Germans entered the city and started executing communists, Jews, Gypsies…
When he was 16 years old, Vsevolod Kozorez and his friend Tolik decided to cross the frontline and join the Red Army. They reached our forces in the area of Voronezh and soon Vsevolod Kozorez became an assault rifle infantryman of the tank
desant of the 72nd Guards independent heavy tank regiment.
His first combat was in summer 1943, during the Battle of Kursk. Later he was among the liberators of Belgorod, Kharkov, his native Sumy region, among those who forced the Nazis away from Dnepr river, among the liberators of Krivoy Rog, Kamyanetsk-Podolsky (Vsevolod Kozorez was awarded the title of the honorary citizen of the city), Ternopol, Lvov. During the liberation of Lvov, the unit under the command of Vsevolod Kozorez prevented the the opera theater from being blown up and saved this unique architectural landmark. Germans were already preparing the detonators when they were stopped by a shout “Hände hoch!“
He then participated in liberation of Poland, Germany and the battle of Berlin. Vsevolod Kozorez shot down an enemy plane by a machine gun near the German capital, for which he was awarded a 1st class Order of the Patriotic War. He received his award from Marshal Konev. After Berlin he participated in the liberation of Czechia and Prague.
“The way we were greeted in Prague… Lilac was in blossom and our tanks were bombarded by bouquets! Victory Day is bound to the scent of lilac!“, Vsevolod Kozorez recalls.
Vsevolod Kozorez was awarded with many orders and medals, was wounded three times, lost many frontline friends and comrades, all of whom he remembers by name.
Now, being 90 years old, Vsevolod Kozorez writes articles for local newspapers, participates in meetings of veteran organizations. Seeing the desecration of the memory of the heroes of the Great Patriotic War in Ukraine, in the Baltic states, in Poland, in other countries of Europe, Vsevolod Kozorez understands that the world is witnessing the revenge of fascism. It is especially painful for him to see Nazi marches in Ukrainian cities, which he ones liberated and saved from destruction. After all, millions of Soviet soldiers gave their lives for the freedom of these cities. In the end of the interview, Vsevolod Kozorez said: “Had I been a bit younger — I would have been fighting for DPR now!“
You will be able to see more in the new episode of the program “Donbass with Texas”.