The Young Guard
|"On 13 September 1943 five members of the Young Guard: Ulyana Gromova, Oleg Koshevoy, Lyubov Shevtsova, Sergei Tyulenin and Ivan Zemnukhov were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously" (source)|
September 14, 1943
Today the newspapers hail the posthumous award of five more Heroes of the Soviet Union. They are members of the "Young Guard," a group of high school kids in the Donbass who fought secretly against the Germans for two years. The Young Guard in many ways was like a high school fraternity—they had secret meetings and swore an oath and had secret passwords and recognition signs. Except these kids were playing for keeps and with their lives against the most ruthless group of killers the world has seen.
The leader of this secret society was Oleg Koshevoi, sixteen years old. The Germans caught him, tortured him, and knocked his brains out with the butt of a rifle. Ninety members of the "Young Guard" met a similar death.
I talked with Oleg Koshevoi's mother the other day. She has also received a decoration from the Kremlin. She told me how they had a radio hidden under the floor of their home where the Young Guard copied and distributed every day the Soviet communiqué. She said she didn't know what all these high school kids did to the Germans, except that innumerable damage was done to German military equipment, and some 58 Germans and Rumanians killed by these kids.
These high school students played a lot of tricks on the Germans, such as taking empty mine cases and planting them like booby traps. The Germans would worry for days over such tricks. They wired officers' cars so that when they stepped on the starters, the car would blow up. They cut the telephone lines, and always they put out their daily bulletin, carefully written by hand and passed among the people.
The story of this youth organization is spreading. Right now, behind German lines, other Russian school kids are organizing themselves for similar secret fighting.