If we imagine the history of the Great Patriotic War in the form of a book, then it will probably be a huge folio in a luxurious cover, gilded and intricately decorated. Inside, anyone who opens it will find not only straight lines and beautifully designed illustrations, but also huge gaps, mercilessly redrawn and many times rewritten, or even completely "torn out" pages and even whole chapters.
Alas, despite the titanic work of entire generations of both professional historians and amateur search engines (often much more effective, and, most importantly, impartial and objective in their activities), despite the really reverent and caring attitude of most of our fellow citizens to the Great Patriotic War, its chronicle to this day gapes with "white spots". Forgotten exploits, unrecognized heroes, fights and fights that remained unknown, each of which should serve as an example of the highest courage and resilience of the defenders of our Motherland ... Sometimes even the brightest episodes of the great epic turn out to be in a completely undeserved "shadow", instead of which some people immediately begin to try to write into her own vile fabrications. We will remember one of these episodes today.
Odessa from Gorlovka
Meet Konstantin Aleksandrovich Chekhovich. A Soviet partisan who, with full right, could be awarded the title "The most effective saboteur of the Great Patriotic War." Send to the underworld in one fell swoop, at least - a battalion of Nazi rabble, or even one and a half (according to various estimates, this combat unit of the Wehrmacht could number from 500 to 600 units of personnel), and in addition, several dozen representatives of senior and higher command personnel, and who belonged not only to ordinary army men, but also to Nazi intelligence and counterintelligence - this is not a joke!
However, let's not get ahead of ourselves, but start, as expected, from the beginning. Our hero was born in 1919 in the city that deservedly bears the name "pearl by the sea". technical The vein and talent in dealing with a variety of mechanisms manifested itself in Kostya quite early, and therefore there were no special problems with the choice of the future path of life - he entered the Odessa Industrial Institute, which he graduated with success. Young specialists in the Soviet Union, which in the 30s of the twentieth century turned into one grandiose construction, were, as they say, snapped up. Fate brought the young Odessa citizen to the Donbass - to Gorlovka, where he quickly became the deputy head of a department at a local by-product coke plant. However, the Red Army also desperately needed cadres with education, into whose ranks Chekhovich was drafted in 1939. He met the Great Patriotic War not just as a regular soldier, but as an officer. By that time, Senior Lieutenant Chekhovich was already the commander of a sapper platoon of the 62nd Infantry Regiment of the 10th Infantry Division of the Red Army, stationed in Lithuania. Note - not a "tough" special forces soldier, but simply a strong professional in his field.
Perhaps this is what allowed Chekhovich to avoid death or captivity in the most terrible and difficult first months of the war. Perhaps his absolutely amazing composure and composure. Or maybe - crazy luck, which will make itself felt more than once? Although, it is unlikely - rather, it is still worth talking about military professionalism and cold fury with which Chekhovich beat the enemy, regardless of the danger and risk. And can it be considered luck that the order received by the senior lieutenant in August 1941: as part of a sabotage group, to cross the front line in the Leningrad region, get in touch with local partisans and start organizing literally subversive activities in the enemy's rear. A mine explosives expert of Chekhovich's level, of course, would be a real gift for any detachment of people's avengers.
The desire to inflict maximum harm on the enemy was not enough - it required a skill that yesterday's collective farmers, builders and people of other purely peaceful professions who became partisans did not have. However, the campaign to the enemy's rear, which began quite well, ended tragically. It certainly didn’t look like a happy coincidence that Chekhovich’s group, alas, was completely destroyed, without even having time to really pass the front line. No one will ever be able to establish whether this was an accident or a betrayal happened and our soldiers ran into a well-prepared ambush awaiting "guests" from the opposite side of the front. For loyalty, the Red Army was covered with an aimed mortar volley, which killed four out of five on the spot. Chekhovich "got off" only with a severe concussion, as the Nazis who approached to finish off the destroyed saboteurs were convinced.
Lucky again? But how to say ... The Nazis did not finish off Chekhovich, as they often did with our wounded soldiers. He ended up in a concentration camp - one of two, located in the vicinity of the ancient town of Porkhov, which is more than 80 kilometers from Pskov. What were his chances of surviving? Judge for yourself, taking into account the fact that in one of the Dulag-110 transit camps there during the occupation (from 1941 to the beginning of 1944), the invaders mucked to death 85 thousand of our prisoners of war. The other camp, Zapolyanye, into which Chekhovich fell, was a real conveyor of death - there they regularly destroyed partisans and their "accomplices" who fell into the clutches of the Nazis, as well as simply civilians, mainly Jews and Gypsies, who were taken there for "The final solution to the issue" from all over the region and even from Riga.
It is clear that Chekhovich could not have survived "caught red-handed" when crossing the front line in this hell - the local counterintelligence did not take him seriously just because after the shell shock he was completely unsuitable for thoughtful interrogation with partiality. Our hero did not wait until he was considered recovered - after a dozen days he was not in the concentration camp. Moreover, having made a daring escape, Chekhovich did not even think to use his newfound freedom in order to hide or even get back to his own. He had a combat mission and he had to complete it. Note - there are no blocking detachments nearby, special officers with revolvers. Only his own conscience and the upbringing of a Soviet man, whose land is trampled by the enemy ... A few days later, an irrepressible Odessa citizen contacted the command of the 7th Leningrad partisan brigade. And I received a new order.
I don’t know what Konstantin Chekhovich felt when he was assigned the next combat mission, since in simple words it could be reduced to the phrase: “Stomp, where you came from!” No, not behind the front line, but in the very Porkhov, from where he escaped with such difficulty. Get settled in the town, legalize yourself and wait for new instructions - they will contact you when the time comes. Orders, as you know, are not discussed, but carried out, and Chekhovich coped with this brilliantly - a month later he had not only work and shelter in the city, but also ... his legal wife! Operational cover? No - just that very love at first sight, which, contrary to the assertions of cynics, still exists. The first child was born to the newlyweds already in 1942. Subsequently, Evdokia Vasilyeva, a young girl who invited a pretty stranger to lodge in her house, went with him all the hardships, hardships and joys of their life together. However, all this happened later. In the meantime, Chekhovich needed to make the most of all the benefits and advantages of his new position.
He found a job at a local power plant, where the partisans had been "sharpening their teeth" for a long time, and immediately began thoughtfully looking for places to lay the charges necessary to destroy this important object to the ground. As an employee employed in a responsible area, the invaders gave him a "night pass", which allowed him to move around the city even during curfew, which the underground worker used - it is clear that for cases that the Fritzes would not at all please. Moreover, Chekhovich turned out to be an excellent watchmaker and a number of people who wanted to repair their chronometers were drawn to him. Among those there were also Germans in considerable numbers. The partisan, bending over the springs and gears, diligently portrayed a hard-working, but narrow-minded artisan, neither ear nor snout knowing the language of the "Aryan masters". They chatted enthusiastically, waiting for the completion of the repair, and Chekhovich was "playing on his mustache." So the partisans were warned of several sudden punitive raids and received many other important information.
However, all this was not right. Still, Chekhovich, in his training, was not an intelligence officer capable of hiding for years in order to obtain secret information, but a saboteur. The soul demanded action, and the strength to look further at the Fritzes freely wandering around the city remained less and less. The command of the 7th brigade was rushing about with a plan to blow up the power plant or at least the bridge over the Shelon River, but everything went wrong with this: the policemen who initially guarded them were replaced by German soldiers, and the security regime at the facilities was significantly strengthened. By that time, Chekhovich himself had made a truly dizzying career: he was hired at a local cinema - first as a projectionist, and then as an administrator.
The fact that the building of the "center of culture", the former mansion of the merchant Zatsky, also housed the headquarters of the "Abwehr-Nord" division, which oversaw the entire reconnaissance and sabotage the activities of the Nazis in the region, as well as the headquarters of the SD. It was after gaining access to such a truly unique place that Chekhovich's plan began to form - extremely daring, but really ingenious. I must say that the cinema functioned in a special mode: on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, it was publicly accessible to all residents of the city, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, only “pure public” - German soldiers and officers - were allowed there. Consequently, there was an opportunity to strike so that none of the Porkhovites was hurt. Initially, Chekhovich wanted to give the Germans a "festive surprise for the 26th anniversary of the October Revolution" and planned the action for November 6, 1943, which fell on Saturday. However, the invaders, who were by no means fools, simply banned any "mass events" for the period from 5 to 10 November. I had to wait patiently.
Chekhovich was a demolition "from God" - if such an expression is permissible. He, with his higher technical education and combat experience, perfectly understood: in order to guarantee the destruction of all the Fritzes who gathered in the building, you either need to stuff it with TNT on all three floors, or make sure that a filigree explosion made a good-quality "fold" inward , a three-story brick mansion from tsarist times. Anyone who has an idea of the strength of buildings from that period will say: "Impossible task!" Nevertheless, our hero (despite the fact that architecture did not seem to be among the sciences he mastered) found a way out. He came to the conclusion that the charges should be placed in the gallery that encircles the auditorium, where there was a fair amount of empty space under the wooden balcony floor for spectators. Then the supporting structures of the house will be destroyed for sure. It's easy to decide, but to do ?!
For the operation, the partisans allocated 64 kilograms of tar to Chekhovich. Their delivery from the forest to Porkhov is a separate odyssey, in which the whole family of the Demoman took part. The apartment where he lived with his wife and little son temporarily turned into a deadly guesthouse, but that was half the trouble - after all, all the explosives had to be brought into the cinema! Caught - a loop or a bullet awaits all relatives. According to his own recollections, Chekhovich dragged only to the place of sabotage in portions of two pieces of 400 grams each. Imagine how many extremely risky “flights” are? However, at the final stage, his wife's sister, Zhenya Mikhailova, helped him with transportation, whom he attached to the cinema as a cleaner. At that time she was 15 years old ... The future death of the Nazis swept into the auditorium in buckets of dirty water.
Walkers with a fight. To death ...
It is clear that there could be no question of using in such a situation (the hall full of the Nazis) the traditional for the partisans the fuse-cord cord. We needed electric detonators. As it turned out, they could not be found with fire in the daytime either in the 7th partisan brigade or in other detachments with which it had contact. What to do, Chekhovich made them with his own hands - as many as five pieces. The last thing remained - the trigger mechanism. Well, there were no problems for an experienced watchmaker. The last hours and minutes of the Nazis were counted out by simple walkers, launched by them in advance - at 10 o'clock in the morning of the fatal day for the invaders. The auditorium of the cinema had about 600 "seats", another hundred were recruited attached and standing. That evening, November 13, 1943, there was, as they say, nowhere for an apple to fall in the hall - after all, the newest film "Circus Artists" was shown! The circus was a success ...
At 20.00 the weight of walkers, which Chekhovich covered with a blanket to muffle the sound, sank to the end - and the building was shaken by an explosion. Two German generals, forty officers (including the Abwehr and the SD), seven hundred soldiers of the Wehrmacht and the SS! By the way, the commandant of the Zakholmye concentration camp, Chekhovich, “thanked” him from the bottom of his heart for his “hospitality” was also present there. 764 "supermen" went to the underworld, who came to our land with fire and sword! It was an unprecedented, unsurpassed success for the partisans. Subsequently, the Nazis, in order to hide the scale of the losses incurred from the local population, will be forced to bury the killed two or three in one grave. Information about the unheard-of scandal will reach Hitler himself and will drive the Fuhrer into complete frenzy. Splashing saliva, he will yell, “A Jew did it! Exactly - a Jew! " The essence of the concept of "Soviet people" will never reach the idiot - right up to May 1945 ...
And what about Chekhovich? By the time the fragments of the “Aryan conquerors of the world” mixed with broken bricks were flying up into the night sky, he was already approaching the partisan base. The wife and son went there in advance. Zhenya Mikhailova, who had been warned by Chekhovich about the explosion, went into the forest together with the projectionist Sergei Shelkovnikov. Is there a risk of a stock breakdown? Of course, however, Chekhovich could not allow innocent people to die in the explosion. Not a single civilian was hurt ... The Fritzes who came to their senses, of course, rushed to his home. There they were awaited by a "bonus" - in the form of bundles of grenades bolted to the door handle and the remaining couple of kilograms of tar. Chekhovich subsequently very much regretted that, albeit belatedly, but having understood who they were dealing with, the Nazis did not poke their way through the door - they climbed out the window. It was not enough for him, you know, was ...
Opportunities to prove himself to our hero still presented itself - more than enough. After such a "sonorous" case, planned and carried out practically alone, in the 7th partisan brigade, he took a worthy place - chief of staff of one of the detachments. This, of course, was reflected in the effectiveness of the people's avengers - over the next few months they derailed fifty German echelons, blew up more than a dozen bridges, eliminated tens of kilometers of military communication lines and destroyed three and a half thousand Nazis. Konstantin Chekhovich and his family safely survived the Great Patriotic War - everyone survived. Problems began later ... Then, when someone wrote a denunciation of the hero, accusing him of complicity with the invaders and questioning the feat he had accomplished. Instead of a well-deserved reward, the genius of sabotage business received a tub of dirt.
We must pay tribute to the employees of the State Security Committee, where the vile slander entered - they figured it out quickly enough and extremely skillfully. Nevertheless, “revealing” articles began to appear in the press, which put forward truly insane versions of what happened in Porkhov on November 13, 1943. Someone tried to assert that everything happened because of the "careless handling of explosives by the Germans." Delirium that does not stand up to criticism. Some added to the fact that the Nazis ... themselves staged an explosion in order to "provide cover for their agent, who is being introduced to the partisans"! Aha - and smashed to shreds a couple of their own generals, not to mention seven hundred compatriots of lower ranks ... This is generally a complete clinic! How was it possible to compose such a thing with live witnesses and participants - the same Shelkovnikov and Mikhailova? But someone's hand went up and his tongue turned ... Nobody dragged Konstantin Chekhovich during interrogations, and, moreover, did not arrest him. But his deed, exceptional even for that unparalleled war, did not receive more than deserved recognition. His only awards were medals "Partisan of the Patriotic War", "For the Defense of Leningrad" and "For Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War." The Order of the Patriotic War was awarded to him in the jubilee 1985 - like many other veterans. At the same time, it is known for certain that the nomination for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union was submitted to Chekhovich - but was never satisfied. Why? It is unlikely that we will ever know this ...
Be that as it may, but this error can still be corrected. Even if Konstantin Alexandrovich has not been with us for more than twenty years, his children and grandchildren are still alive. We are all alive - the heirs of the great country for which he fought. Talks about conferring the title of Hero of Russia on Chekhovich were held repeatedly - and politicians, and representatives of the local authorities of Porkhov, where at least a memorial plaque was opened for him in 2013. But why not a monument? Why, on the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory, not to perpetuate the feat of one of its most worthy creators, not to reward him as it should? Quentin Tarantino, in his film about "inglorious bastards" defeating Hitler, actually stole Chekhovich's feat, attributing it to "heroes" that did not exist in the West. This is how memory, pride, Victory are stolen from us ... And we watch trashy films - both foreign and, alas, domestic, forgetting those thanks to whom we live in this world.