Mikhail Rozenshteyn

Mikhail Rozenshteyn

1922 Norinsk, Ovruch District, Zhitomir Region

Interviewed In: Toronto, Ontario

Sergeant in Airborne Troops, Detachment Commander Machine-Gun Company

Originally Mikhail studied anti-aircraft artillery at the Leningrad Artillery Technical College in Tomsk. “I finished the college and was given a sergeant’s rank. Afterwards we were sent to airborne troops, and I served in airborne troops all the time during the war. We used to jump with parachutes; I had 25 jumps with parachutes. Besides, we used to fold the

parachutes ourselves. There was a special instructor to supervise the way we folded our parachutes, making sure we did it correctly. There were incidents when soldiers didn’t fold their parachutes the right way, during the training period, they were diving with parachutes, the parachutes didn’t open and they died.”

Parachuting was a difficult job, so Mikhail practiced plenty of times. “You need to know what to do to avoid a fatal landing. There may be chances of landing and hitting your head on the house, and that’s it, you are dead. You are supposed to jump with your feet forward, and use your feet to push off.” Even the weapons changed to help with the jumps. “Later, they took away the heavy machine-guns and replaced them with more or less modern weapons. At that time we had a hand machine-gun instead of a heavy machine-gun.”

Even though he’d been training for combat, Mikhail never saw any combat action. In 1946 he was demobilized and went home. “After the war I worked as a warehouse manager at MVD (Ministry of Interior). There were prisoners there. Those were local people serving short terms in jail. People were sent to jail for taking a few potatoes – after the fields were plowed. Thats how bad it was.”