Part 7. Evacuation of the plant and the railway workers daily life in 1941-1944
In 1940 the staff of our plant repaired 80 locomotives. Then at the enterprise 300 workers, 40 engineers and other technical workers and 30 employees worked. The professional and qualification level of plant’s staff was raised. The experience of locomotives repairing was accumulated; the number of drawings for trains was increased.
The attack of Nazi Germany violated the productive work of the plant’s staff and the entire life of Haivoron. Part of the youth was mobilized to the front. The enterprise worked at night with full darkness. And on July 9, 1941, the evacuation of the entire property of the plant was begun. The equipment was unmounted and loaded into the wagons. The renovated locomotives and those expected to complete repairs were transported by railway trains, as well as various materials, parts, inventory, archival materials. All this went to the deep rear – in the city Alatyr of the Chuvash ASSR to the local steam locomotive repair plant. On July 12, the evacuation was completed. Most plant workers together with their families went to Alatyr. And on July 29, 1941, Haivoron was occupied by German troops after unequal defensive actions.
After the Soviet troops setback the narrow gauge remained ruined. German rear military units began to rebuild it. This work was carried out very slowly. The repair of one steam locomotive was completed at our plant only in March 1942. Since a lot of equipment was removed to Alatyr, the occupation authorities imported it from various European countries. They brought even a locomobile here.
For the repair work, the Germans mobilized 700 people. Most of them sabotaged instructions of representatives of the German authorities. When the Soviet troops successfully conducted the Korsun-Shevchenko operation, the Nazis began to evacuate the plant’s property. All equipment was dismantled and removed. This work was carried out only by the Germans, without the participation of workers of the plant. And only in winter of 1944, when a temporary lull came at the front, the occupants returned a part of the equipment to the plant and installed it. The enterprise has functioned again.
When the Uman-Botoshan operation was begun in March of 1944, the German invaders started to load the equipment to the railway platforms again. But they could not take it out. The withdrawal routes by railway were cut off by Soviet troops. Frightened by the whirlwind attack, the Germans did not even have a chance to explode the plant, as well as the locomotive and wagon depot, as they planned. And on March 12, 1944, Haivoron was released from the Nazi invaders… (to be continued)