It was the summer of 1941, and I was living in a little town near Kiev, The Ukraine. For summer, it was warm and as the city was bracing itself for possible attack from Nazi Germany, me and a few of my friends where hanging out in Petrov forest, just on the outskirts of Kiev.

Sure we were worried about the fact that one of the biggest military powers in Europe was about to invade us, as they had already invaded the Ukrainian borders and Belarus, and was only a matter of time until they would hit our beloved Kiev. We were hanging around the forest and sitting by the bottom of big thick trees. We were talking about school and girls, I was only 8 at the time, but I hung about with a large amount of kids, ranging from my age to about 14.

We weren’t fazed by the Nazi invasion news, and us being kids, didn’t feel the need to listen to the news about the war.

We began to hear the noise of trucks and tank wheels. We saw them coming from the part of the woods we never dared to tread, for it was too easy to get lost. We saw a large amount of trucks carrying injured Soviet soldiers, and Soviet tanks drove with fire burning on their armour. One of the tanks spotted us and a man got out. He approached us and told us to leave the forest and head for the shelters, and that the Nazi advance was coming.

We were shitting ourselves. We got up and began to walk the short walk to suburbia. As we ran to where we thought was safe, the air raid siren sounded as we saw the civilians running to the shelters and to their houses. Suddenly I realised we forgot to tell our friend Navillrosky Truboia. I decided to run back to get him since I had some time until the Nazi advance hit the city.

As I entered the forest I was extremely anxious, and any noise would make me jump. I began to run to where we'd last seen Navillrosky. He told me he was going to check out the deep part of the forest, which I said earlier is easy to get lost in. I had no choice but to go to the deep part of the forest. I was running when I became out of breath. I heard someone shout my name, I turned, and saw it was Eponialitzky Rovasoky. He said he wanted to help me find Navillrosky. While we were running in the deep forest, I saw Nazi soldiers walking slowly, then I heard two bangs. I blacked out. As I was slowly regaining consciousness, I felt my chest was in agony. I couldn’t move, when I slowly opened my eyes to see Wehrmacht soldiers going through my bag. I saw one had discovered the instrument my grandfather gave me, and they were punching Eponialitzky.

One soldier saw me open my eyes. He walked up to me as I lay on the floor and kicked me in the head.

I awoke, disorientated, in a dark room. My face was mutilated from where soldiers cut me with knives, more than likely after I was knocked out. I got up and began to walk. I was no longer in the forest. I didn’t know where I was. I walked up steps to see a man, hunched over with a large smile on his face. He turned to me and said ‘You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?’