The Blavatnik Archive is dedicated to the discovery and preservation of historically distinctive and visually compelling artifacts, images and stories that contribute to the study of 20th century Jewish, WWI and WWII history.
On January 14, 1944 Pavel Elkinson, machine gun platoon commander in the 172nd infantry regiment, 61st division, 3rd Guards Army, was crouching in a narrow trench on the right bank of the Dnieper River. Elkinson, a Jewish man born in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, was in the company of his two “Maxim” gun platoon soldiers, a Russian and a Siberian. They had been transferred to this area along the 4th Ukrainian Front on December 25, 1943, following Stalin’s resolution earlier that month to ‘clear the Soviet land’ of Nazi occupation, and retake territory at least up to the 1939 border in a winter campaign. In nearby Bolshiye Rogachiki the Germans were holding on to their last fortified positions along the Dnieper River; territory to the north and to the south had already been liberated. >