Germany: Book by Karin Felix “There Was …”

At the Russian House of Science and Culture in Berlin, the book by Karin Felix “Was Here …” was presented to the general public.

In the Russian House of Science and Culture in Berlin, within the framework of the Coordinating Council of Russian-speaking Compatriots of the Lands Berlin-Brandenburg, “Meetings with Interesting People”, Karin Felix’s book “There Was …” was presented to the general public – a study of names in the Reichstag building.

The meeting was attended by representatives of various organizations, students of Berlin schools, creative and scientific intelligentsia of the city.

In the warm and cozy atmosphere of the cinema, the audience watched a video greeting from the Chairman of the Energy Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation P.N. Zavalny, with the support of which, as well as the Russian Gas Society, this edition was published in Russian.

Video clips of Karin Felix’s tour of the Reichstag were shown.

The meeting was held in the format of a conversation, where everyone could ask a question and communicate with the author.







Semyon Kleiman – Chairman of the Berlin Club of WWII Veterans – a participant in the hostilities of the 2nd Ukrainian Front. He cordially thanked the author for many years of research and publication of this unique work, which is especially important for preserving historical memory.







The meeting was chaired by Zhanna Kruglyakova, chairman of the KCC, and Khibla Amichba, project coordinator.







The books signed by the author were handed over to representatives of organizations, which, given the limited circulation of the book and the current epidemic situation, will provide an opportunity for more readers to familiarize themselves with it.

It should be said that the Coordination Council of the Lands of Berlin-Brandenburg turned to P.N. Zavalny with a request for an additional circulation of this unique book. Many are unaware of the surviving inscriptions on the walls in the Reichstag after restoration. This will expand the knowledge of readers, it will be possible to present the author his research in other lands of Germany. And the creation of an electronic version of the book will arouse interest among young people.

About creating a book

“… and suddenly you feel responsible, because you can read what
what is written on the walls of the Reichstag, what is written in 1945, at the end of World War II,
that you were not destined to survive.

… and you hear what they think, what they represent, they do not know the language, and it bothers you
over time, more and more, because you are familiar with the people who left their inscriptions here.

… and you start writing, not assuming at first what kind of work you have to do … “

Karin Felix







The author of the study, Karin Felix, worked as a tour guide in the Bundestag for almost a quarter of a century, she talked about the idea of ​​creating a book, about the first meeting that took place in October 2001, when, 56 years after the end of the war, Boris Viktorovich Sapunov found his name written with a piece of charred wood , May 3, 1945, by him, a sergeant of the First Belorussian Front …

“It was good for us to meet,” says Karin in her book, “when I was walking to meet another group of visitors, I was stopped by a Bundestag security officer with three guests. My colleague asked if I saw the name “Sapunov” written on the wall. He knew I could read the graffiti on the walls. This name was unfamiliar to me, and even with so many inscriptions it was impossible to keep everything in my memory. I took them to the place where most of the inscriptions were concentrated. The elderly man began zealously looking for the inscription he had left in 1945, and I went back to the bureau to bring them information material in Russian. When I returned, I saw that the people accompanying the elderly man were photographing a small inscription, located at a height of one and a half meters, to which the veteran was pointing. Coming closer, I could only see the first two letters and asked carefully if he had a business card. The next moment I experienced a feeling of awkwardness from my request, what if he didn’t. Before me stood a simple, modestly dressed man, agitated, but at the same time internally calm, and, as can be seen in the photograph, proud and immersed in his thoughts about what happened here in 1945.
He looked for something in his jacket pocket and finally handed me a business card. Before me stood a Russian historian, professor, member of the Petrovskaya Academy of Arts and Sciences, a leading researcher and head of the culture and education department of the world’s most famous Hermitage Museum … Later I learned that he had the title of Honorary Doctor of Oxford University. “

So, day after day, a German woman born after the war began to search.

The next person who in the same year found his autograph on the wall was another veteran, this was also Boris, by the name of Zolotarevsky, who came from Israel.

Every stroke, every inscript, left in the distant victorious 1945 on the walls of the Reichstag and preserved after reconstruction, is carefully collected and systematized by location in a single book-catalog, which is not only a collection of names, dates, numbers, letters, scraps of phrases, it is replenished living stories of those who left them. It took twenty years to create and publish this titanic work, the work of Karin Felix’s whole life.

I was fortunate enough to experience, like the happy moments when Karin was holding two editions in German and Russian, and the seemingly hopeless milestones associated with the publication of these books.

I had the opportunity to familiarize myself with her, then unpublished, work under the working title: “When History Comes to Life” (Inscriptions in Russian on the walls of the Reichstag and their authors), on which she had been working for almost 15 years.

The research collected amazed me. It told the stories of the inscriptions preserved on the walls of the Reichstag after the restoration, meetings with people who reached Berlin in 1945, and about those who came to the Reichstag today.
“Since 1999, after the reconstruction, every day I have seen the preserved inscriptions made by the soldiers of the Red Army who took over the building and ended the Nazi dictatorship. Behind every name is fate and sometimes a given life for our world, ”Frau Felix told me,“ former soldiers came to me, ”she continued,“ who found their own names, there were also children of veterans. I listened to them, received photographs and letters, I did not always understand the essence of the inscriptions, and this led to the fact that people who knew the language perfectly began to help me. More than 700 names have been documented and there was confidence that I can bring clarity to the fate of many families. “

This book is a bridge between the past and the present. It vividly represents the life of people who went through that war. I realized then what a colossal work it was – decoding, searching, correspondence, meetings. Behind every letter, behind every word, there were fates …

“The inscriptions began mainly on the second and third of May forty-fifth, and the last surviving date is 1950. People wrote names and cities – the geography of the entire Soviet Union … there are even five inscriptions in English, ”and she quickly began flipping through the computer manuscript in search of the photograph she needed. – “Here it is, the entry dated May 13, 1945 …, and here, under the railing of the stairs, 19 …”.

And a completely unfamiliar story rose before my eyes.
The years, spent by the author in search of publishing houses, have flown by. Gigantic work, tremendous strength and desire to convey this invaluable information to the next generations.

“There was …” – revived pages of history.

Karin Felix, the only former and current Reichstag employee who knows every inch of the building’s walls, and sees the faces of those who stand behind the inscriptions on them.

This is a very important book for a wide range of readers. The Book of Memory, addressed to us, now living, about those who reached Berlin, who laid down their heads on the battlefields for a peaceful and bright future, in memory of the feat of the Soviet people, who laid down their lives and work on the altar of Victory.

We can see on the walls in the Reichstag and, in particular, in the photographs in the book, not only names, but also place names. Not everyone can visit the Reichstag, and how I would like to find this book in the libraries of Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union, so that there is an opportunity to read it in other languages, not only in Russian and German, but also in their own language, which will give an opportunity reveal other stories behind the silent inscriptions, and quietly say: “HERE WAS …”

… Kislovodsk, Mordovia, Caucasus, Moscow, Yalta, Grozny, Tuapse, Sverdlovsk, Tbilisi, Leningrad, Donbass, Kiev, Rostov-on-Don, Kursk, Veliky Ustyug, Stalingrad, Siberia, Kuban, Belarus, Artem mines, Tashkent , Mirgorod, Oryol, Novosibirsk, Kryvyi Rih, Kalinin, Poltava, Krasny Luch, Odessa, Krasnodar, Chelyabinsk, Khabarovsk, Kaluga, Alma-Ata, Nalchik, Dnepropetrovsk, Voronezh, Chisinau, Zhmerinka, Altai, White clay, Kharkiv, Kirovograd, Bashkiria, Baku, Rostov, Mary, Tuapse, Odoev, Kuznetsk, Vladikavkaz, Kerch, Astrakhan, Priluki, Turkmenistan, Kuskovo, USSR, Ural, Zaporozhye, Yerevan, Zhitomir, Verkhny Manera, Chkalov, Ukraine, Tikhvin, Tula, Komsomolsk-na -Amure, Gorky, Tatarstan, Smolensk, Penza, Minsk, Crimea, Gomel, Plastunovo-Tsygansk, Kegelevsky district, Bryansk, Omsk …

Elena Dunkul / Elena Dunkul

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