July 28, 2015
By Yevdokia “Dunya” Sheremetyeva [littlehirosima]
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
[To read Yevdokia Sheremetyeva’s other dispatches from Donbass and Crimea, please click on the ‘littlehiroshima’ tab above the title.]
–Potroshenko, why don’t you come here to the Donbass and sit in cellars like our kids.
Vera Artyomovna Yurchenko, born 1939
She lost her two sons on 11 August 2014 at 11:23 a.m. right outside the door of her house in Pervomaysk.
Nearly everyone remembers when the shells struck, down to the minute.
–They were buried right next to the house together with the others, and after that I wouldn’t come out of the School No. 6 cellar. We came out after 40 days and went to clean things up.
I barely managed to turn on the camera. Vera Artyomovna keeps on talking.
–I was washing off brains with my very own hands.
The tears keep on coming, but she chases them away.
Zheka, who’s been doing humanitarian aid for a long time, went out. He couldn’t listen.
Vera Artyomovna takes me to the stairwell entrance.
The whole house is pockmarked with shell holes. As if someone struck a cardboard house with a fist. Down below there’s a small door. And flowers.
–They died right here. They lay right here. I put up flowers all the time.
Next door to the house there’s a plot of flowers which she takes care of.
–Four shells struck our house…
The building’s corner has totally collapsed. One big gap. You can still see the remnants of the wallpaper, which reminds that people used to live there.
–Let’s go, I’ll show you where we used to hide. And will again…If it starts…
I open the door and I see a collapsed floor and a tiny slit in the corner. We walk, bent in half.
–Vera Artyomovna, should we unload the aid?
I am completely drained. To say this is hard doesn’t even describe it.
–Come on, I’ll show you where we sat out the shellings.
–You know, he stood right here at the entrance and was letting everyone through. He waited until everyone else came through. And he died right here….Dear God, what monsters…I was injured myself at the time. You see how it can be–I was born before the war, and now I’m living out my days in one.
When she saw the chicken and the milk, she started to cry and hugged me.
–Come here, daughter. Thank you, thank you.
And she cries…
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