Halyna Ustymivna Hordienko

* 1929  

  • “Germans were looking everywhere, killing everything they found. Whenever they found a chicken or a pig, they killed it right on the spot. They did as they pleased. And we, as one would say, we just couldn't stand in their way. Later, the Germans would even spend a night in our house from time to time. Back then when they were still going forwards, when they weren't retreating.”

  • “I couldn't say that we went by car, we went by horse carriage. My mother brought all the stuff outside, she wanted to take everything we had with her, but my father said: 'No, take just what's necessary. We'll leave everything else here.' So we left all our belongings at that place. And we came to this village, and how did we survive? I had no winter clothes. And my father joined the Red Army right away.”

  • “Right after I finished that year of school, the war began. The year was 1941. And there was radio, there was just everything, so we learned right away. Ulaniv was built in a way that while it was a part of Vinnitsa Oblast, but the road was built in a way that as the war started our people went to fight the Germans.”

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    Dubno, 04.12.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 53:53
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Don’t worry girls, your father will be back in no time. But my father, he never came back

Halyna Ustymivna Hordienko in 1953
Halyna Ustymivna Hordienko in 1953
photo: Archiv Halyny Ustymivny Hordienko

Halyna Ustymivna Hordienko, born Nikov, was born on October 17, 1927, in the village of Zhornyshche in Ukraine, in the then Soviet Union. She moved quite often, as well as her brother, due to her parents´ work assignment. On June 22, 1941, after the Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, her family – except for her father – went into hiding in a village to avoid the fighting. Her father joined the Red Army and had never returned from the battlefront. Her brother, Taras, also joined the Red Army, and fought the whole eastern campaign with his comrades (from 1941 to 1945). He sustained a serious chest injury in combat, yet he survived and came back to Vinnytsia Oblast after the war. Helyna Ustymivna went to school before the war and later she studied at an Institute of Mathematics in Vinnitsa. After that, she moved to Myrhoschc and later to Dubno in the Rovno Oblast, where she had been working at a local teachers´ institute. She has been living in the city of Dubno in the Rovno Oblast; due to her father’s demise she has the status of the WWII veteran.