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Excerpts from ”One of the very few panzer killers” – Aleksandr Vasil’evich Rogachev

In the last days of March 1945, we crossed the Austrian border in the vicinity of the city of Keszeg, after which our corps broke through the woods in the direction of Wiener Neustadt. We entered the city on Easter Day. The Germans were completely unready for the appearance of our units. Only the Vlasovites offered resistance. In a word, we hated them worse than the Germans. They could not count on any mercy in fighting, where a soldier is simultaneously the judge, prosecutor, and executioner. If that was the case – that was it. Some would emerge and come running with their hands up in the air, but from our position we would greet them with fire. If one was taken prisoner, he’d be led away somewhere . . . In this city, I personally killed seven men in combat with my submachine gun. We were rolling the gun, and they had dug into a cellar and were firing back. I and two other guys entered the building. We broke into the cellar and picked them off there. (…).

I fought against Germans, Hungarians and Romanians. If I compare them as adversaries, the strongest, of course were the Germans. In second place, for their cruelty and stubbornness in battle, I would select the Hungarians. All the rest were weak, and the Romanians were in general … mamalizhniki [a mocking reference to the national dish of Romania, mamaliga]. When in 1944 they came over to our side, they would be sent forward first. We would stand in readiness. We watched as they launched their attack. Then the Hungarians and Germans would counterattack – and the Romanians would turn tail and run. We already knew that now we’d be given the command to charge. They’d run away while we were now attacking. In addition, we never left a Romanian in a security outpost overnight.

Note: The Vlasov army (Власовская армия, Vlasovskaya armiya)) – ROA was a collaborationist formation, primarily composed of Russians, that fought under German command during World War II. The army was led by Andrey Vlasov, a Red Army general who had defected, and members of the army are often referred to as Vlasovtsy (Власовцы).

The Soviet government labelled all ROA soldiers (vlasovtsy) as traitors, and those who were repatriated were tried and sentenced to detention in prison camps. Vlasov and several other leaders of the ROA were tried and hanged in Moscow on August 1, 1946.