photo by Evgeny Bondarenko
Crimea. The Bakhchsarai region. Four kilometers to the South of the village Mashino in Kachin canyon. A large field surrounded by forest…
At one time there was the Greek village Laky. However this place is called Laky today, but you will not find on the map the village. You will not find neither houses nor inhabitants… There are only their names on a small obelisk: “to the Inhabitants of the Greek village Lucky, died in the fire of the Second world war at the hands of Nazi invaders. Eternal memory.”
This tragedy happened a year before the burning of the Belarusian Khatyn.
The former commander of the Bakhchisaray squad and then South forces, Michael A. Macedonskiy wrote about it in his book “The fire over Crimea“. “Today March, 24 (1942), the scouts reported the terrible news: March 23 was burned and completely destroyed the village Laky. Nazi sons of bitches and their low hirelings burned down the entire village, destroyed the club, the school, the Council building, the shop, residential buildings of farmers and even the Church. 16 women, the elderly and children, including Elena Gavala with her 8 month old baby got shot. The corpses of the executed were thrown into one of the cellars, poured gasoline and burned.”
There is the evidence of eyewitness who survived in that terrible event being a boy. Yury M. Spai wrote: “When the Nazis destroyed the partisans, those who remained alive, came to our village. On March 23, 1942, the village was surrounded by the Germans and volunteers from punitive battalion. All the residents were gathered before the village Council and were given a going-over. Among them were my uncle and two brothers. I, then still a naive teenager, came up and asked: “Uncle Mitya, what are you doing here?” And he said to me: “Yura, go away now or you’ll be killed too. We are led to the execution.” It’s impossible to forget such…”
A few years ago I visited this beautiful and peaceful location. The Church of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke made indelible impression on me. It had being stood since 1942 after the burning as a silent witness to the tragedy as a reminder of terrible days and as the memory of all the victims.
Fortunately, as I learned recently, the Church is being restored. But in my memory it remaines the same as in the photo and a small video, which I’ve made then. I will definitely go there again to see the restored temple and to bow my head in front of the monument to the villagers. This is our story and, as stated above, it’s impossible to forget such…