What The Girl with an Oar reveals
Perhaps there is no more recognizable statue – incarnation of Soviet kitsch of socialist realism era, than the Girl with an Oar. Copies of this monument can be found in many parks and cities of the former Soviet Union. However, the original statue was made by an outstanding Soviet sculptor Ivan Shadr, and posed for the sculpture not just an ordinary young athletic girl. It was Vera Voloshina (1919 – 1941) – later the legendary Soviet intelligence officer, Hero of Russia, tortured and executed by the Nazis during the Second World War.
What The Girl with an Oar reveals
Blond beauty, smart student, she was the most fun in the classroom. She dreamed of becoming a famous athlete, won the competition in the high jump. Once she was spotted by sculptor Ivan Shadr, who persuaded her to pose. In 1935, the 12-meter sculpture of a nude Girl with an Oar decorated the Gorky central park of culture and rest. But then it was decided to send the nude statue to Lugansk. A smaller copy was sent to the Tretyakov Gallery.
Vera Voloshina was born in 1919 in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, in the family of a miner and a teacher. From the first school classes she was involved in sports: gymnastics and athletics. In high school, she won the city championship in the high jump. Her classmate and close friend was Yuri Dvuzhilny. After moving to Moscow at the end of high school, she entered the Moscow Institute of Physical Culture and Sports. In parallel with the institution she was trained in the Moscow Aero Club, where she mastered piloting aircraft I-153 “Chaika” and took up skydiving. In addition, she was seriously fascinated by shooting, drawing and poetry.
When the World War II began, Vera asked for permission to volunteer in the Spanish Civil War. But the commission, looking at the pretty blonde, decided that the war is not the right place for the girl. Soon she had to leave the institute of culture due to an injury.
In the spring of 1941, Vera and her fiancé, Yuri Dvuzhilny agreed to get married. Vera bought wedding dress in advance. A month later the war began. Yura went to the front. Vera promised to wait. She waited and helped to build fortifications. She wrote to Yuri: “Now, when you go to Moscow and see the poster:” What have you done to the front,” you can feel the satisfaction of having something done”.
She was persistent, and got what she asked for – Vera Voloshina was sent to the 9903rd intelligence headquarters of the Western Front. One of the few letters: “Mom, if you can get boots somewhere, gloves (the ones I have torn), if not difficult, please send, or I will be very cold in our vast forests … Mom, please, think less about me, nothing will happen with me, because I was born under a lucky star, I will live a hundred years …” October 21, 1941 Vera Voloshina crossed the front line for the first time. Such raids were six. All were successful. Vera returned unharmed. Next to her was a younger comrade Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya. Shy, reticent girl. Vera took her into care.
November 21 several scouts again went to the rear of the Germans in the region of Naro-Fominsk. They safely arrived at the village of Obukhovo. At night, Vera and her teammates crossed the front line. The task was accomplished: the roads were mined, houses, where the Nazis stayed, were detonated. She could come back. But the Germans arranged ambush. Severely injured Vera was captured. “Vera Danilovna Voloshina went missing during a combat mission behind enemy lines,” – Klavdia Voloshina, Vera’s mother repeatedly reread the news and did not believe. She did not want to believe that this was the last news of her Vera.
“… I am now at the front, Mom. Do not worry, nothing serious, and then death happens only once … ” – Vera wrote to her mother …
Vera was hanged by Germans November 29, 1941 at the farm Golovkovo of Naro-Fominsk district (the same day in the village Petrishchevo Germans executed Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya). Not one week, the body of Vera hung on willow – the Nazis did not allow local bury her. Only when the Germans withdrew from the village, Vera was buried. Her last refuge she found in a mass grave in the village of Kryukovo.
Vera Voloshina was listed among missing for 15 years, so no one knew about her feat. It was only many years later, the writer Georgy Frolov found out what a heroic death died the same “Girl with an Oar”.
Local residents reported that Vera was hanged by the Germans 29 November 1941 at the farm Golovkova. This is how the death penalty scout witness:
“She was brought here by car. Germans came here, there were many of them. When the side board of the car opened, the villagers saw the poor girl covered in blood, in underwear lying in the car. At first there was no sign of life in her. Two fat Germans, with black crosses on their sleeves, climbed into the car, wanted to help her to her feet. But she pushed the Germans and, clinging with one hand on the cab, climbed down. Her second hand was hanging like a whip. And then she began to speak. First, she said something in German, and then in Russian: I am not afraid of death. My comrades will avenge. We will win. You’ll see! And she began to sing “International”.
“And the Germans were silently listening. The officer who commanded the execution, shouted something to the soldiers. They threw the noose around her neck and jumped off the machine. The officer ran up to the driver. And he set all turned white, probably not so experinced in hanging people. The officer drew his revolver and shouted something to his own chauffeur and the car moved off. She still had time to shout so loudly that my blood ran cold, “Farewell, comrades!” When I opened my eyes I saw that she was hanging”.
On the same day, when the Germans executed Vera, ten kilometers from Golovkovo, in the center of the village Petrishchevo, Germans hanged Vera’s friend Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya. Vera’s beloved also did not survive the war – Hero of the Soviet Union Yuri Dvuzhilny died in battle during the operation in Mogilev.