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Dordzhi Barkhaev, about the German occupation of my village

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Dordzhi recalls how his village was occupied by the Germans during World War II: When the Germans arrived in our village, rumors made the rounds that the local temple would be reopened soon. People, especially the old, were happy with this news. We, boys, ran to see the German vehicles. When the temple was re-opened everybody went inside to see that it had been refurbished. The temple was housed in the building that before the Revolution belonged to Danzan Dondukov. Among the people who gathered there was Lora, abbot of the temple. Soon other monks, including a doctor and an astrologist arrived. I remember the names of some: Maral and Chompel. At the opening of the temple people brought statues, thangkas, books, and sutras. A month later we received news that Dr. Doll, commander of the German regiment, wanted to visit our temple. Dr. Doll arrived in a car with his driver and a soldier armed with a machine gun. He quickly walked around the temple, looked at everything, and then went to see the village headman. Doll was a strong man and looked like a Russian. Soon the temple was closed and all the relics disappeared. Later people tried to find the relics, but to no avail. The Red Army liberated Elista and pushed the Germans back. Those Kalmyks who worked in the police left with the Germans.



World War II, Kalmykia

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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin