Aleksandr Petrovitsj Petrov was a soldier in the Soviet Army. He was born in the village of Chumaki in the province of Belgorod. He just turned 18 years old when WW2 breaks out and he gets drafted into the army. His orders came through and he had to defend his country, the Soviet Union. After a year of fighting the Germans he was taken prisoner on 4th August 1942 in the port city of Sevastopol in the Crimea. He is transfered to Stalag IV B in Mühlberg am Elbe, where he arrives on 7th Oktober 1942. In Stalag IVB, Aleksandr is given a prisoner number (194471) and his details are recorded on a personal prison card. They also take a picture of Aleksandr for that card. The picture shows Aleksandr with his head already shaved.
The bright eyes, protruding ears and boyish face are striking. His name and number are written on a line below the photo. Aleksandr spends nearly three years in German captivity. On 22nd May 1945, three days before his 22nd birthday, he dies of pulmonary tuberculosis in a hospital bed in Bad Lippspringe. He is taken to Margraten in The Nethelrands by American troops and is buried there in the American Cemetery.
When a permanent American Military Cemetery is established in Margraten, the authorities look for another place for the war victims of a different nationality. Aleksandr's remains were exhumed and reburied in 1947 at the Soviet Field of Honor in Leusden. He lied there all these years anonymously in an unmarked grave with just a number 391. A total of 865 war victims from the Soviet Union were reburied there.
Soldier finally gets a face to his name in 2021
Slowly but surely the Field of Honor fell into obscurity. No one ever came to bring flowers to Aleksandr's grave. Until Remco Reiding decided to take care of the Soviet Field of Honor. After years of (re)searching, he manages to identify soldiers and trace their families. Reiding also finds out the identity of Aleksandr Petrov. Reiding establishes his identity in 2004 and traces his family. He tells the relatives that Aleksandr is no longer missing, but is buried in the Soviet Field of Honor. Unfortunately, the soldier's family does not have a photo. In 2021 -73 years after he was buried in the Soviet Field of Honor in Leusden- Aleksandr gets a face to his name. His photo is on his prisoner of war card, which came into the possession of the Soviet Field of Honor Foundation.
The Soviet Field of Honor Foundation remains committed to the identification of soldiers and the tracing and grave visit of their relatives. The Foundation is also committed to keeping alive the memory of the war victims buried in the Field of Honor. You can support the Foundation by adopting a soldier. See www.sovjet-ereveld.nl.
Thank you to Remco Reiding