Anatoly Schwartzman

Anatoly Schwartzman

Born January 23, 1926 Odessa, Ukraine

Interviewed In: Vancouver, British Columbia

Medals Awarded: Order of the Patriotic War (1st and 2nd Class) and  Victory over Germany In The Great Patriotic War

Tank Operator 2nd Belarusian Front

“Before being sent to the front we were told, you’ll learn everything at the front line”

Anatoly was too young to be drafted when the war began. He and his mother were evacuated to a communist farm near Novorossiysk. They relocated to Omsk to live with his sister. In 1943 Anatoly was drafted and sent to tank school in Chelyabinsk.

“My training was probably no longer than 6 months. I had only one chance to fire a gun. No chance to practice driving a tank. That’s what my training was like. Before being sent to the front we were told “You’ll learn everything at the front line”.

Anatoly was part of The Second Belorussian Front. His first combat experience was near Warsaw. The unit fought through Prussia before reaching Berlin after The Red Army had already captured the city.

“You can’t imagine how the Poles were meeting and greeting us! Entire Warsaw was in ruins. Not a single building was spared. After Warsaw we were redirected to Eastern Prussia, 2nd Belarusian Front. General Rokossovsky was the 2nd Belarusian Front’s commander. While our troops were on the way to Berlin the 2nd Belarusian Front had to stay to complete the task. They waited for us to complete the task and to go to Berlin. However they couldn’t wait too long so they moved towards Berlin and captured it without our participation”.

Anatoly’s unit celebrated the end of the war with America soldiers also stationed in Germany.

“That was a real brotherhood. We started drinking and everything…And so the war was over. Afterwards the Americans retreated to their mandated territories”.

In 1947 Anatoly’s unit was transferred from Germany to Poland. They encountered Anti-Soviet resistance on several occasions.

“2 years later the high command decided to transfer us, as a second echelon, to Poland. While on our way to the destination our echelon was under fire at least on five occasions”.

Anatoly left the army in 1951.