A cemetery in Kostroma

Cemetery, it seems, has always been here, but the brick church was built only immediately before the first world war on the expenses of the local peasant-mason Polyashov, who for many years worked in St. Petersburg, and as a result of his first-class repair work on the Winter Palace he was given the title of honorary citizen in the capital. He can be seen here, in the dedication ceremony, in front of the window of the church built by him, to the right of the woman with the white shawl, an elegant white-bearded gentleman.

It was he who set up one of the few carved stones in the cemetery on his father’s grave. “Крестьянин деревни Погорелово Иван Дмитриевич Поляшов” – “Ivan Dmitrievich Polyashov, peasant of Pogorelovo” – he had only this much written on it, this was the origin the citizen of Petersburg, the mason of the Winter Palace was proud of.

Nearby stands the grave of the daughter of the local landowner: Anna Vasilyevna, died at the age of 22 on 14 August 1889. The two cherub’s head have fallen, but they are still next to the tomb. The cross, however, was sawn off back at the beginning of the Soviet era.

There used to be an icon in the niche.

A teacher’s grave.

A pine on the grave, and at the grave’s wooden fence an iron plate attached to two iron bars: “Hier Ruht ihn [sic] Gott GEORG HAUK, 1908-1947”. What has brought you here, Georg, to the northern borderlands of Russia? Have you ever thought that you would once lay here? Who could write your plate in your own language?

Здравствуйте, Леонид Аркадьевич. У меня к вам большая прозьба живём мы в деревне унас нет ни дороги ни телефна живём 8 пенсионеров за хлебом ходим за два километра по грязи. Леонид Аркадьевич у нас с бабушкой развалилась русская печка а сложить иё очень дорого надо две тысячи, а мы получаем 500 рублей на двоих пенсию получаем бабушка уменя инвалид мне 63 года а ей 66 лет печника нам нанять неначто вот я и прошу вас помогите пожалуйста вышлите нам денег печку нам топить нельзя вся развалилась очень прошу помогите пожалуйста мы вам будем очень благодарны в прзьбе прошу не отказать
С уважением

Подпись, обратный адрес
3 апреля 1999г
Dear Leonid Arkadevich, I have a big request to you, we live here in the village, there is no road neither tellephone eight pensionners live here for the bread we wallk two kilometers in the dirt. Leonid Arkadevich, to us here with the granny the stove has collasped it is very expennsive to repair it would be two thousand and we together get 500 rubbels [ca. 20 USD] pension with the granny she is an invalid to me I am 63 and shes 66 theres no way to pay for the stove thatswhy I ask you please help us send us money we cannot reppair the stove it has all fallen I ask you very much to help we wil be very gratefull please donot refuse
With respect

Signature, sender’s addres
3 April 1999

The bricks of the stove are still there in a heap. The village was depopulated before Rostelekom introduced phone into every village. In the next village, where they used to go for bread, there is already a phone station. But in the meantime it was depopulated as well.

9 comentarios:

walter dijo...

Many thanks for this reflection. Do you know the background to the tri-partite cross with the third cross-piece at an angle?

Studiolum dijo...

It is a typical Russian Orthodox cross. The upper part is for the INRI inscription, as on the Latin cross, and the lower part is a footrest, as on many Orthodox crosses. The source of the latter element is an allusion in the Psalms (98:5) to “the footstool of His feet”, and although it is debated whether the historical cross had such (probably not, as the weight of the body freely pulling down the crucified body and causing suffocation was part of the suffering intended), it has an important symbolic meaning emphasized in Russian Orthodox liturgy, being a symbol of Christ as the scale between the good and bad, the repenting and the blasphemous thieves: this is why it is slanted (in Greek Orthodox icons it is usually horizontal).

J dijo...

Creey and beautiful, thanks again

Studiolum dijo...

Thanks to you, Gabriel, for coming and leaving a sign, as a pebble in the graveyard. Vuelve a visitarnos.

Caravaggio dijo...

That German cross definitely raises a question. A German POW, perhaps?

Studiolum dijo...

Almost sure. But German POWs were usually kept in lagers while in the SU. They were either buried there, in mass graves, or directly transported home, and were not let strolling about in little Russian villages far from the next lager.

Caravaggio dijo...

I just finished reading one of the most astonishing books of my life, the forgotten soldier by Guy Sajer, that tells the story of a German soldier who survived the eastern front.
After what i read it would not surprise me at all to find out that that Georg Hauk was just someone miracolously survived to that madness, got lost, and landed by accident in the middle of nowhere.
It would deserve a proper investigation, hundred of thousand of German POWs just disappeared in SU and someone may be still waiting for Georg somewhere in Germany.

Terrific web site, I wish you could write an article and post pictures about those unknown german crosses spread all over the eastern front.

Grazie per l'eccellente lavoro.

Studiolum dijo...

Tante grazie per indicarmi il libro. Non lo conoscevo, ma lo ho subito trovato in un sito e lo leggerò. Anzi, se è tanto buono come lo dici, cercherò di scriverne qui nel blog.

Sarebbe veramente buono sapere di più della storia di questa croce e di tante altre. Qui c’è poca speranza, dato che i vecchi che avrebbero potuto raccontarlo, sono già tutti morti (e infatti il villaggio spopolato). Io, in ogni modo, ho scritto per Facebook a tutt’e quattro Georg Hauk che ho trovato, indicando a loro la fotografia e chiedendoli se ne sappiano qualcosa. Finora nessuno ha risposto.

Per quanto alle croci e cimiteri tedeschi, ne conosco alcuni qui nei dintorni, in Slovacchia, Ungheria dell’Est e Romania. Cercherò di scriverne. Purtroppo una politica cosciente dell’armata russa era di distruggere i cimiteri tedeschi. Per esempio, in questo post ne vedi questo, sotto il castello di Buda, che esisteva solo per poche ore: i sovietici, dopo essere entrati nel castello, lo hanno subito distrutto.

Caravaggio dijo...

il libro è scioccante e ha un indubbio valore storico e permette di guardare gli eventi storici dagli occhi di un tedesco. Sono certo che ti piacerà e visto la tua incredibile capacità di scoprire queste fantastiche piccole storie, spero che riuscirai a trovare materiale dimenticato riguardante i tedeschi dispersi in russia.
Grazie ancora.