RT presents War Witness - a special project dedicated to the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Second World War. Anisya Zenkova shares her experience as a Russian field medical officer.
We had a garrison hospital in Kazan. We were formed there and sent to the front. I was with the 160th infantry division: a senior medical nurse I was. My job was with a medical and sanitary battalion.
I remember one day we were in a surgery ward. A lull in the fighting, no gunfire, no nothing... All of a sudden the door burst open and we saw a mud-covered man in a cape. We rushed to him shouting, "Where on earth do you think you are coming?!" Just like that. And then he collapsed. We picked him up and saw he had been hit by a dum-dum bullet into his belly. He mustered his strength and his guts in his dirty hands and struggled to the medical battalion.
Thank God, he caught it not far from where we were based. The surgery was a very protracted one, of course. You had to rinse everything and put it in place, and to discard bits of the gut, and to sew it -- quite long operations these are. But I want to say that he survived it. He was holding out and he pulled through the surgery, and survived.
And we had another case. A soldier had his toe smashed by a bullet. There was surgery, too, under local anesthesia. But he died on the operating table! He was so tense, so scared of his own blood and surgery that his heart gave way. We failed to save him.
I saw a lot. Our forces liberated Majdanek, the death camp. The things that had been perpetrated in there... It was awful! Our hospital was converted to therapy by that time and we were accepting the inmates that hardly looked like humans. We were helping and treating them. Many had TB. People with TB have dilated pupils. It makes them quite beautiful. Their eyes and skin shine... Some even predicted their own death. They said: "I'll die tomorrow," and that's what happened. I saw people die after surgery, die in hospital, die from TB -- six or seven per night -- it's mind-boggling.
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