Soviet soldier given a face after 75 years

Timofey’s grave

Since the end of the war he lay buried under a misspelt name at the Soviet Military Cemetery in Leusden. Now his identity is finally clear: Timofey Gendin. Today his grandchildren in Ukraine received news that granddad is no longer missing.

In the village of Soldatske, on the border with Russia, the news spread like wildfire through the unpaved streets. Our granddad has been found!

For decades the relatives of Timofey Gendin wondered what had happened to him after he left for the front during the Second World War. He did not return and his family never heard from him anymore. His wife Yekaterina and their three children – son Pavel, daughters Lidia en Lioubov – were left in suspense. All have died since then.

The news from the Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation about the fate of their beloved Timofey only arrived this week. From the faraway Netherlands. Almost eighty years after Timofey left for the front from Soldateske, not far from the city of Sumy in the northeast of Ukraine.

Timofey was taken prisoner by the Germans, liberated by the Americans and interred in Margraten, in the Dutch province of Limburg. From there his remains were transferred to the Soviet Military Cemetery in Leusden, where 865 war victims from the Soviet Union lie buried. His identity could not be established and thus his family were left in the dark.

On that Soviet Military Cemetery in 1998 the lengthy search of Amersfoort citizen Remco Reiding for the identity of the soldiers took off. Only recently and after years of digging through archives was he able to prove that ‘Timofen Hentin’ was actually Timofey Denisovich Gendin from Soldatske. After that finding his family was a piece of cake, because they still live in the same village as 75 years ago.

Timofey and his wife Yekaterina

The grandchildren became very emotional when they heard the unexpected news. They are waiting impatiently for any further news about their granddad. Reiding, director of the Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation, will send them all related documents as well as a photo of the grave. All in all he has traced 210 families so far.