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The Sunday War
The Sunday War
The Sunday War
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The Sunday War

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The Sunday War chronicles the lives of a German soldier and a Russian family starting in 1933 with the rise of Hitler in Germany and the start of the Great Terror in the Soviet Union, as author Robert Conquest termed it.

Industrial crane operator Herman Heitz is impressed into a military security unit near Munich after he tries to learn the fate of a Jewish supervisor, who was whisked away by the new Nazi regime in 1933. Rising to the rank of sergeant, his unit unwittingly provides security for an SS unit in 1941 as SS soldiers conduct pogroms against Russian Jews in eastern Poland and later White Russia, then provides anti partisan hunting support before transforming into a desperately needed antitank gun battery.

Sergei Zalovskiy is a member of the elite NKVD, who finds himself imprisoned in Siberia in 1937, then released in time to face the German onslaught in June 1941. He is assigned as a rifle division commander to battle the German Army in southern Russia as well as the NKVD, before gaining an assignment which takes him into his hometown, where is wife and daughter may be trapped.

Both families fight not only the ruthless enemies they face, but also the ruthless leaders who lead them to war.

PublisherChris Covert
Release dateNov 11, 2012
The Sunday War
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Chris Covert

Chris Covert currently lives in Oklahoma City and writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com and BorderlandBeat.com. His articles have also appeared on FrontPageMag.com, TheTruthAboutGuns.com and NewsRealBlog.com Chris has written sports and business news for Oklahoma daily newspapers. He has also worked as a mechanic, a machinist and a bookkeeper, and has been self employed. Chris Covert was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1954. He served briefly in the US Army as a tank driver. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Journalism from the University of Central Oklahoma. Chris is currently writing his third novel, set in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the mid 1980s. His latest non-fiction work is tentatively scheduled for release late 2013 to early 2014.

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    The Sunday War - Chris Covert

    The Sunday War

    By Chris Covert

    Copyright 2012 Chris Covert

    Smashwords Edition, License Note

    This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1

    Chapter 2

    Chapter 3

    Chapter 4

    Chapter 5

    Chapter 6

    Chapter 7

    Chapter 8

    Chapter 9

    Chapter 10

    Chapter 11

    Chapter 12

    Chapter 13

    Chapter 14

    Chapter 15

    Chapter 16

    Chapter 17

    Chapter 18

    Chapter 19

    Chapter 20

    Chapter 21

    Chapter 22

    Chapter 23

    Chapter 24

    Chapter 25

    Chapter 26

    Chapter 27

    Chapter 28

    Chapter 29

    Chapter 30


    Chapter 1

    In 1933, night was the only safe time to cross into Russia. Night cloaked one from being seen, but night travelers came to expect the very worst, for the land was laid waste.

    But it was life to travel at night. New habits of survival were the terms of life. Stealing food from party officials and others, going sometimes for tens, perhaps even scores of kilometers and then returning to eat everything before a party volunteer entered the house to search for food.

    That had been Vitaly Malindin's existence for ten months. He ran with packs of men in similar straights to catch dogs, cats and rats for food as they swapped stories and information.

    Information he received while stealing food in Orel led him to Viaz'ma. But at night, only at night. There, he could find an old Bolshevik, in the traditional sense. This man was not an animal. He was not a mad dog. He would not demand your wife or your daughter. But he needed help from skilled hands. The best part was that the Smolensk oblast[1] Secretariat was looking the other way. Already, close to 20 Ukrainian families settled in the area since the end of famine. Yet, this man still needed more. But you must travel at night.

    The GPU and the NKVD were becoming more aware of this activity. But in Viaz'ma, they did not have sufficient informants to help them root out this new threat. Not yet, anyway.

    Malindin stalked carefully up to the door of a wood-framed house in south Viaz'ma. It was midnight. The air was cold here, though it was summertime, so the light breeze which swished gently through birch and fir trees was soothing to him. He tried to relax as he knocked on the door. It was opened. Out of a brilliant light inside came a short and stoutly built man. His face was weatherbeaten and ugly, but his eyes were laughing and kind. They peered into the darkness with a curious glint that showed friendship and warmth.

    Comrade Zalovskiy? asked Malindin slowly and quietly.

    I am Zalovskiy, he said. Who are you?

    My family is Malindin and I am Vitaly from Konotop in the Ukraine. I am looking for work here.

    Does anyone know you are here? he asked quickly.


    There was a slight pause. Come to the plant near the railyards. It is the Viaz'ma Tractor Works. Ask for me by name and I will talk to you then. Clean yourself up. You look like a pig and you smell like shit! Act as though the party sent you. Understand?

    Yes, I understand. I will see you tomorrow.

    The door closed quietly and then Malindin, alone, turned away to find that stream he crossed a few kilometers back.

    The old social bonds were rent asunder. A class war the likes of which had not been seen for hundreds of years took its toll. No one could talk about the number, for as great as the calamity appeared in the eyes of the victims and their tormentors, a greater commitment to the stealthiness of the attackers and the cruelty of the attacks was achieved. It was commonly known the numbers of attacks were prodigious. The victims were people, sometimes a people --- men, women and children --- families --- who organized economic production along lines hateful to the Soviet communist ruling class.

    Communists objected to the exploitation. After the Civil War and the war against the peasants, they demonstrated that the methods used to achieve industrial and agricultural production were capitalist methods, as they were. Then came the class war. It came from nowhere, it seemed, yet warnings signs were there for anyone willing to look.

    Articles written in the pages of communist journals and newspapers about the necessity of the class known as the kulak, the wealthy peasant communists said were dominant in Ukrainian agricultural life in Lenin's New Economic Program. The discussions at first were general in the dreary and precise language of the economist, then the language became ominous, when thinly veiled hints of how kulaks would be treated appeared in those publications. Such views were indeed scary, but in safe and productive Ukraine, who could have guessed the talk would soon become institution? Who would have predicted? Until then, the only trouble from those idiots in Moscow came when the nomenklatura on positions in party and government organizations in the outlying regions came under scrutiny. The occasional official would attempt to pacify Moscow by taking action of any kind as a show that their performance for the party was at its optimum. Those jobs were prestigious and precious, but not to the kulak. The struggle for existence went on as it had for hundreds of years before.

    Then the talk ended and the action began. The anti-kulak pogroms and farm collectivization. The Boss[2] imposed a tax amounting to 50 percent of grain in the Soviet Union. There was no not paying the tax, for party activists entered homes and raided kolkholzi, or collective farms, for grain. They rounded up peasants and farmers. They intimidated. They fought and they murdered kulaks. The communists had the power and they had the army to back them. They dutifully loaded the requisitions on wagons and carts for collection points into the Ukraine and north Caucuses for transport. As bad as the pogrom was, some said, at least there was something to eat. It was a feast compared to what was to come.

    What came in 1932 eventually passed. The pogrom passed because it gave way to famine. Of course, there were enough grains and food to feed the hungry. Food came from America and other parts of the world but it was withheld to complete the elimination of kulakism from the land. With the starvation came the inevitable calamities of disease, social disorder, cannibalism, family breakdown and murder. For months no one could travel in the Ukraine or the northern Caucuses to avoid the stench of disease and death. It was everywhere.

    The kulak would say: 'The farm is gone, seized by the state and turned into a new institution. Very well, I will get work at a factory. I will sit before the factory manager and a representative of the party and I will proudly say, I employed people, I could handle them on a farm, I can do so for you now. The looks they gave me were humorous, to say the least. But when they enquired a little more about my prior life, then the unfortunate truth came out. I suppose, yes, by definition I was a kulak. But now all that has changed. I am now by circumstance, a worker. The speed at which they would lose interest in me was astonishing. There would be no further comments nor questions for me. I left the factory to try another new plant, then another one, and yet again another one

    The story was always the same. As soon as officials found a kulak in search of employment inside or outside of the Ukraine, the kulak was deported, sometimes back to the Ukraine, sometimes to work in Kolyma, the White Sea canal project or the Upper Volga Canal project. Those who returned to the devastated lands of the Ukraine and northern Caucusus, gathered their remaining personal property, everything which could be carried, and took it to the border areas not affected by the Kulak War to sell for food, for survival. When the party and the Political Administration caught wind of this new activity, party members were sent to the border areas to seal them off and to help the GPU[3] Chekists[4] make arrests. Those leaving would be allowed to do so, but they were not allowed to reenter the area with food for their families. All exits were sealed. All fates became sealed as well. There was then nowhere else to go except home to wait to be deported or to die. With the war abated, Ukrainians who had survived the purge of the kulaks removed themselves from further harm in numbers to find work elsewhere. Just something to give them another day of life.

    Malindin walked carefully into the noisy plant. He was shocked to see workers working and joking and talking amongst themselves. It was a happy, noisy plant. He walked up to a manager and asked for Zalovskiy. He was led passed row after row of engine lathes to a glassed-enclosed office in the center of the plant. He walked in. A male secretary who was typing feverishly failed to glance up from his work to regard him. Zalovskiy got up from his desk and showed him where he could sit. He admonished the typist to leave the office. When he was gone, Zalovskiy looked him over very carefully before sitting before him.

    You're Malindin, Vitaly Malindin? he asked.

    Yes, I am. You remembered.

    I know everyone's name here. You look much better than you did last night. You don't smell like shit any more, he laughed. Malindin laughed with him but he stopped suddenly. He felt awkward with him.

    Take it easy now. You are among friendly people now. Relax. What work have you done before?

    I worked a blacksmith shop before the revolution. When the Bolsheviks started to pay me in grain, I quit.

    So you can work with your hands, can you?

    I saw some of your machines out there. I can do this work.

    Can you now? Well, we shall see. You start now. How about your family?

    They are gone.


    No, but they should be. They were deported to Murmansk. I have heard nothing because the party stopped mail coming to me.

    Zalovskiy cursed quietly. Shitty war they conducted in the south. It is not communism the way we old Bolsheviks used to think of it. That war was to dominate one race over the other and one class over the other, and that is not communism. He stopped for a moment. Malindin looked very closely at him. He saw a tiny tear coming from his eye.

    I am sorry. I know I speak treason and there would be a day when Bolsheviks would take actions against such crimes, but now the mantle of communism has passed from us to this new gang of murderers. But, things are bound to change, at least that is what Marx has always written, has he not?

    I don't know. I am not a communist.

    I would not worry about your family. I know that that sounds cruel. But the only thing hotter than the weather in oblast Smolenska in the summertime are the women. You will find a wife and start a family. You may now dismiss to the shop to begin. See Ivanov about what to do first.

    He went to the shop and before he could ask for him, a short, thin man with broken teeth walked up to him and smiled painfully.

    Another goddam hand, eh? he said, his arms akimbo. Well that is just fine. I take it you are another goddam Ukrainian? He then led Malindin to a line of mills. Drill holes into these U-joints, he said, showing him. He left Malindin to his work.

    A neatly dressed soldier hailed Political Instructor Sergei Zalovskiy as he came down from the train onto the rail platform in Smolensk. He came smartly forward and saluted him.

    Political Leader Zalovskiy, I am here to see you to the 118th Rifle Division headquarters. I will take your luggage, he said grabbing his bags from his hands. I brought a new Ford truck, so you may wish to sit in the back where there is more room or in the front where there is comfort, if you please, comrade Political Leader.

    Red Army Soldier, what is your family?

    I am Kolznokov, Red Army Soldier Yuri Sergeevitch.

    Well, I have to say you serve your superiors very well. I will mention your name to the duty officer. You are to be commended.

    Zalovskiy loaded into the back of the truck for the short drive to the west side of the city by the upper Dnepr River. There he was taken to the divisional headquarters in a large tent city. The air was thick with dust from marching boots and from the noises emitted from the throats of scolding sergeants and commissars. It was 1700 hrs, so several elements including his assigned unit were most likely on maneuvers. The duty officer, a friendly captain at first frowned at him as he signed in. Zalosvkiy was troubled from the sudden change in attitude, before he noticed the captain took several glimpses of the brilliant red Political Commissar patch on his shoulder. He had been warned about the problems. This was his first experience in dealing with it. In a brusque and perfunctory manner, the duty officer took his written orders and signed him into the division register. They parted with a salute. A runner escorted him to his tent and a cot. Both were empty. As he finished putting away his uniforms, more troops were arrived in the assembly area, in a loud and orderly march. The soldiers and squad leaders were yelled at for their slovenliness and their slowness. The troops were hastily arranged into formations, then dismissed for a 20 minute lecture by the division Commissar.

    One by one, a few platoon political leaders came slowly into the tent. They barely took notice of Zalovskiy as they lit cigarettes and spoke quietly amongst themselves. In came another political leader, who smiled gleefully at him on noticing him and extended an enthusiastic hand to him.

    I am Krilev, Eight Company Political Leader.

    I am Political Leader Sergei Zalovskiy. I was assigned to the Rifle Division, 354th Regiment, Eight Company.

    Yes, it is very good you are