Sergeant Abram S. Kononenko

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3315/21

 

Name: Sgt. (or Pte.) Kononenko, Abram, S.

Unit: Russian Air Force.

Captured: (1) Near Kiev, 24th September 1941. (2) Village near Kiev, May 1942.

Escaped: (1) Camp on Polish frontier, 17th December 1941. (2) Near Valenciennes, 15th October 1942.

Left: Lisbon, 4th October 1943.

Arrived: in U.K., 5th October 1943.

Date of Birth: 10th November 1915.

Army Service: 1937-1939.

Air Force: Since 1941.

Peacetime Profession: Radio operator.

 

This man states that his rank is Sergeant, but, according to information received from MOSCOW by the Russian Embassy, he is actually a Private.


He states that he was captured on 24th September 1941 near PERYATENO, in the region of KIEV. He was then serving in the Air Force, but had become attached to am army unit in the retreat. The Army unit attacked the Germans, and he was wounded in the leg. There was another retreat, and he was left behind and captured. After capture he was taken to PROSKUROV, near the Polish frontier, and put into a large camp full of Russian P/W.

 

KONONENKO remained in this camp till 17 Dec, when he escaped. He states that many P/W were dying in the camp from starvation, that he himself pretended to be dead, and that he was flung into the common grave in which the bodies were being buried. He escaped when the guard left, and made his way through the woods to the village about 25 km from KIEV where his mother lives, arriving sometime in Jan 42.

 

KONONENKO states that in May 42 the Germans searched the district for Russians of military age who were liable to take to the woods in the spring as partisans. He was rounded up and sent with a batch of prisoners to work in FRANCE. The journey through POLAND, GERMAN and BELGIUM lasted about a month.

 

In FRANCE he was put in a camp near VALENCIENNES, where there were about 450 Russian P/W, and worked in a coal mine at LA GRANGE (?). He was here from Jul 42 till 15 Oct 42, when he escaped with another Russian. The morning shift was leaving the camp for work, and he and his companion, both having just returned from work on the night shift, managed to join the out-going party. They escaped from the party on leaving the camp, made their way across the frontier into BELGIUM, and got in touch with an organisation at a village near MONS. KONONENKO spent four months in villages near MONS before he was put in touch with the organisation which arranged his journey to the U.K. His companion (Christian name, Gregory) remained in BELGIUM.

 

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