A soldier’s face before and after the war: 1941 to 1945.

I believed that sharing his background would be instructive, so here it is:

Evgeny Stepanovich Kobytev is the man in the picture. He was a young man in 1941 who loved painting portraits and landscapes and had dreams of becoming an artist. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union, he had just received his diploma from the Kyiv State Institute in Ukraine and was preparing to begin his artistic career. Kobytev had to abandon his aspirations in order to serve in the war.

He participated in a number of bloody engagements in Ukraine, but he was injured in September 1941 and was taken prisoner. Khorol Pit (Dulag #160), where he was imprisoned, saw the deaths of almost 90,000 civilians, including Jews, and POWs. The camp only had one barrack to serve as housing and was constructed on the site of an ancient brick foundry. Those who were lucky enough to acquire a spot in the barrack were packed close together. Although the stink inside was intolerable, it was preferable to living outside and being totally exposed to the elements.

Before finally succeeding in escaping, Kobytev endured two gruelling years in the camp. He then swiftly reenlisted, serving out the rest of the war by taking part in conflicts to free Ukrainian cities held by the Germans.

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