Aleksey Shtern

Aleksey Shtern

Born June 24th 1922 Odessa, Ukraine.

Interviewed In: Toronto, Ontario

Medals Awarded: Order of the Patriotic War (1st and 2nd Class),  Medal for Courage,  Medal For Defense of Stalingrad,  Medal For Capture of Konigsberg,  Battle of Stalingrad,  Battle of Danzig and Victory over Germany In The Great Patriotic War

Sergeant Major in tank unit: Battle Of Stalingrad, Danzig, And Capture Of Konigsberg.

“We fought for every village, for every hill”

Aleksey was involved in tank combat throughout the war. He was a platoon commander in charge of 3 tanks, with varying levels of personnel. Aleksey’s first major action was in 1942 at The Battle Of Stalingrad:

“Stalingrad was completely in ruins. Our brigade was stationed near the Tractor-building Plant, the Stalingrad Tractor-Building Plant. We were dug in the ground, in the defensive. We were bombed. We shot back. We didn’t let them advance to Volga in our section of the battle field.”

He was wounded and sent to a hospital near Kazakhstan.

Aleksey recovered and rejoined his unit. They fought in Danzig and advanced to Konigsberg, where heavy fortifications made tanks vital to capturing the city:

“We fought our way to Konigsberg where there were ancient forts… where our… the former our soldiers defended along with the Germans. They were Vlasov’s army soldiers. They were POWs and they defended the Konigsberg forts. The forts were the largest fortification on the avenue of approach to Konigsberg. The battle of Konigsberg was important because it was a German stronghold, you see? There was a heavy concentration of troops. The city was crammed with troops”

Aleksey’s family was confused as to whether or not he survived the war:

“When I was in the hospital the last time, my girlfriend sent a letter saying that I was killed on the front and my mother ran to hang herself in the attic. 2 weeks later they got a letter from me and my father convinced her that I was alive and all that. I came back in ’46 after the parade.”

After the war Aleksey toured schools to share his experience with younger generations. He and his 2 brothers immigrated to Canada.