The Last Centers of Resistance

The ruins of the barracks of the 333rd Infantry Regiment and the building of border guards. June 1941.It was written down in the diary of operations of the 45th infantry division from June 30, 1941 after the death of the staff of defense of the Citadel: «Thus, the fortress and Brest-Litovsk are now in hands of the 45th infantry division. The further aim of the division: one part of divisions continues mopping-up and surveying the fortress, other forces of the division have to be brought to a ready state to march».

But as the survived defenders testify, the fights in fortress still took place. Small groups displayed resistance in the zone of the 333rd shooting regiment, on the territory of the club of the 84th shooting regiment, in the northwest part of defensive barracks and in the White palace.

A German leaflet (front side). Such leaflets were dropped from an airplane onto the Brest Fortress.The frontier guard, Private Soldier M.I.Myasnikov who with a group of fighters on June 30, 1941 broke through Terespolsky strengthening into the Citadel, recollected: «While fighting for the Citadel during the first days of July some of our companions were lost …There were 8 people by the 3rd of July». On the night of July, 5 they reached the club and found three exhausted fighters there. The latter told about the lost companions and joined the frontier guards. They decided to break from fortress in the direction of the southern island. Some people died in the fight, and four people managed to leave the fortress.

In the northern part of the Citadel the fighters from different parts and divisions were fighting for the defence. According to the memoirs of an ordinary soldier of the assigned structure of the 455th shooting regiment I.P.Oskirko, 24 survived people decided to leave the territory approximately in the middle of July.

Senior sergeant S.M.Kuvalin who was taken prisoner on July 1, 1941, recollected: «Approximately on July 14-15 a group of the German soldiers including about 50 people attacked us. When they overtook the gates (Terespolsky), there was a sudden explosion in the middle of their rank, and everything was clouded with smoke. It appeared it was our fighter still sitting in the destroyed tower over gate. He dumped a linking of grenades on the Germans, having killed about 10 persons and wounded a lot of people, and then jumped from a tower down and broke to death. We didn't learn who this unknown hero was; we were not allowed to bury him».

July, 21 - the 30th day of the war. The deputy of political instructor of the 98th separate anti-tank artillery battalion G.D.Derevjanko was captivated.

The caponier in which Major P. Gavrilov accepted his last fight on July 23, 1941. A postwar photo.July, 23 - the 32nd day of the war. In the caponier of Kobrinsky strengthening the commander of the 44th shooting regiment Major P.M.Gavrilov was captivated.

The Citadel casemates have kept the evidences of unprecedented courage and firmness of its defenders. In 1949 on the wall of the barracks at Terespolsky gate the inscription was found: «1941. June, 26. We were three in number, it was difficult for us, but we have not lost courage and we die as heroes». In 1952 in the wall of the casemate in the northwest part of defensive barracks the inscription was found out: «I am dying, but I am not surrendering! Farewell the Motherland. 20/VII-41»; in the cellar of the White palace in 1958 – «we die without shame».The inscription «I'm dying, but not giving up! Farewell, Motherland-land. 20/VII-41» was found on the wall of the barracks by Bialystok Gate in 1952.

In the barracks of the 455th shooting regiment at three-arched gate the unknown fighter scratched a bayonet on a wall: «We will die, but we will not leave the fortress».

A lot of legends about the Brest fortress, about the firmness of its defenders were told during the war and after it. In 1956 one of them was told to the writer S.S.Smirnov in the letter by the platoon commander of ammunition supply of the 84th rifle regiment, the foreman Alexander Ivanovich Durasov. One of the defenders of the fortress A.I. Durasov was taken prisoner. Being in captivity, prisoners of the war were made to work in Brest, the Jews from ghetto worked together with them. Durasov often sawed fire wood with one of them, and had known that person since the pre-war life - the violinist from restaurant «Brest»: «…Once, it was in April, 1942 when snow had melted, the violinist came to work later than usual…». The cemetery of the 45th Wehrmacht infantry division in Brest. The photo of 1941.

He told that he was lifted to the fortress, and the German officer told him that there was a Russian who did not surrender in a dilapidated premise, in a cellar. Fascists decided to take him live, and the violinist should go down to the cellar and convince the soldier to surrender. When they came outside «… the unknown person sat down at once, probably the fresh air had made him dizzy, but then he jumped and rose with arms folded on his chest. There were German soldiers and the officer in front of him. There appeared a person in shabby regimentals, in a padded jacket without a peak-cap, very thin, above medium height, with fair hair, fluttering in the wind, in front of us; it was difficult to define his age. While answering the German officer’s question, whether there were still Russians left, he said: «I am alone. And I went out to see that, in what I trusted strongly and I trust now - in your powerlessness …». Unfortunately, neither the name nor the fate of this defender of the fortress is known.

All photos in photogallery...