Maya Lvovna Yelagina, maiden name Tsaluk, was born on May 31, 1925 in Kiev, Ukraine.  Before the war she completed eight grades.  In November 1941 she enrolled in nursing courses and in February 1942, at the age of 16, was assigned to the 51st army field hospital near Stalingrad.  She pulled wounded soldiers from the battlefield sometimes on stretchers, and at times, by placing them on top of her trench coat and dragging.  While crossing the Sivash(also known as the Rotten Sea), she suffered a serious contusion and though as a result she could not hear or express her thoughts fully, continued her work at the front.  After the liberation of Crimea Yelagina was transferred to the Kościuszko Polish division with which she reached Berlin and signed her name on the walls of the Reichstag.  She returned to Kiev after the war, specialized in midwife studies at a technical school and for the next 47 years worked at a the hospital of the Kiev trolley bus depot.  Interview was recorded in Kiev in 2009.  


Hana Brener, maiden name Shaf, was vorn on January 15, 1924 in Skuodas, Lithuania. One of three siblings, Brener was raised in a traditional Jewish home and received a strong sense of Zionism from her uncle. Brener fled immediately after Nazi invasion; one of the seven Jews from her village to survive, she reached Siberia, then changed her course to Southern Kazakhstan, where she learned that a Lithuanian Army division was forming in Balakhna, a city on the right bank of the Volga river. Brener volunteered and served as a nurse from August 1942 until August 1945 in the 16th Lithuanian division, 252nd regiment medical station. After the war, she returned to Vilnius, Lithuania, and in 1972 emigrated to Israel with her husband and son. The interview was recorded in Holon, Israel, in 2008.



Periodical illustrating life building of and life in Birobidzhan. From “Building USSR”, 1935 СССР на стройке»)