Rus Articles Journal

What are the Odessa catacombs known for? Guerrillas of

in days of the Great Patriotic War the Odessa catacombs served as shelter to defenders of the Homeland. Now in catacombs there is a Museum of guerrilla glory. At the time of the Union it was a one of the most visited, but now here it is a little people.

... There was a weekday, and our group was only. There is no excursion bureau at an entrance therefore independently here it is not recommended to come as you should wait to join some group.

Show to tourists not the real camp, and only scientific reconstruction. To it there are two reasons. To post-war time there came here many people who were driven in the real camp, but it was far from an entrance, and once one tourist was lost. It was found in a condition of deep shock after a while, it happened to stay in complete darkness and silence about two days. It was rescued only that when she understood that she got lost, sat down and decided to wait until it is found. After this case measures were taken and reconstruction of camp closer to a surface is made.

Besides, the most part of catacombs is flooded with water which rises above and above every year. But the tourist route has length about 2,5 km and is safe: around there are an electric lighting and indexes of an exit. Now guides do not practice switching off of light any more, but earlier it was. I remember school days when during excursion on one site completely turned off the light. The impression is horrible.

But we will return to history of emergence and activity of guerrilla group in catacombs.

Defense of Odessa lasted more than two months, and the Red Army was forced to recede. To the city from Moscow sent people who had to head the underground movement in the occupied city. The employee of People`s Commissariat for Internal Affairs Vladimir Molodtsov was appointed the head, Pavel Badayev is also known under a pseudonym. It arrived to Odessa in July, 1941 for the organization of prospecting and diversionary work, but also began work on the organization of armories, kerosene and the food in catacombs.

In Odessa it faced the local staff of People`s Commissariat for Internal Affairs with whom could not find a common language. Therefore the second group of Kuznetsov which worked independently was created. Molodtsov`s group - Badayev was divided into two parts: the first group for work in the city, the second - in catacombs. The number of group was small, about 75 - 80 people who began to strike already on October 16 - 18, 1941 the first blows to the Romanian divisions.

Guerrillas more than half a year distracted on themselves divisions CC and field gendarmerie. Twice a day fighters made sorties for diversions, blew up warehouses, mined roads, destroyed communication lines, railway tracks, blew up commandant`s office where there took place meeting German - the Romanian command. Underground workers also collected and gave intelligence information to “Center“. Molodtsov created a wide and strong secret-service network which high level and professionalism noted even the German command and intelligence agents.

Accommodation conditions in catacombs were extremely heavy: complete darkness, dampness, temperature is 12 - 14 degrees, and around enemies. There were several entrances which carefully hid and protected. In one of corridors there was a well which served not only for drink, but also as a means of communication: outside transmitted information and food through it. But people are people, and in a deep vault guerrillas began to be equipped, made kitchen, the dining room, a bakery, a bath, a laundry and even “a red corner“.

Several times Hitlerites tried suit a round-up, once even undertook storm, but is ineffectual: further, than on several tens meters deep into it was impossible to promote as it was very easy to be lost in complete darkness. Then they began to mine and concrete all entrances - exits from catacombs, arranged the round-the-clock supervision, started up gas, closed ventilation. About 400 entrances were concreted.

Vladimir Molodtsov and 15 more people were seized on February 9 at a secret address as one of members of the organization gave them. After several months of tortures and tortures, all of them were shot. Guerrillas did not appoint other commander. By May, 1942 their situation considerably worsened: there was not enough food and the weapon therefore the decision to come to light small small groups towards the savransky woods was made. Some died, and the others joined other guerrilla groups. To Molodtsov - to Badayev in November, 1944 posthumously gave the rank of the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Except the Soviet guerrilla groups, in catacombs also Slovak acted. Slovaks officially were on the party of Germans, but many did not want to be at war and sometimes came over to the side of Red Army. One of parts in October, 1943 got to Odessa, very quickly established relation with local underground workers and after a while went down in catacombs. But information on their activity remained a little, many soldiers died in the years of war, and in catacombs it is possible to see wall drawings now.

Guerrilla war in Odessa was short though there were many opportunities to hold on much longer. Denunciations and treachery of locals as people remembered crimes of People`s Commissariat for Internal Affairs in 1930 - e years became the main reason for defeat.

Will sound Perhaps a little pathosly, but after visit of this place you do not cease to be surprised to courage, firmness and heroism of people who were at war here.