Soviet Writers at War!

Pyotr Pavlenko

Based on actual events during the defense of Sevastopol.

A marine of the Black Sea Fleet fell gravely wounded on the battlefield in the midst of an attack. A mine splinter had torn open his chest, and death was no more than ten minutes away. Nevertheless, he tried to get to his feet, and gathering his last remaining strength managed to raise his body a little and take a look about him. The fighting was moving away. The signalers and sappers were hurrying forward in the wake of the last line of advancing marines. He did not call out to them. But then he caught sight of a man with a movie camera and called out to him. The man hurried over, slapping his pockets to locate his first-aid packet. The wounded marine waved his hand as if to say: never mind that.

Pyotr Pavlenko (first right) visits the wounded.
"Take a picture of me," he shouted. "I'll die without having said anything. Take a picture of me!"


The photographer trained his camera on the dying man, who raised his bleeding, trembling hand, and in a terrible, loud voice as if he were calling his whole company, shouted into the lens:

"Men, don't spare yourselves! You've got to realize. . . Glasha, don't cry for me! My little ones, remember. . ."

And only then did the photographer realize that the marine had wanted a talking picture. He wanted to be heard. So let it be as he wanted. His will is sacred.

Translated by: Anonymo

For more war-time writing, visit:
Soviet Writers at War!
see also:
Biography of Pyotr Pavlenko

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