Ukrainian girl finally identified after 75 years

Over 75 year it remained unclear who the girl was that lay buried in grave #815 at the Soviet Military Cemetery. Now she has finally been identified.

Ever since the Second World War she lay buried under a corrupted name. Thanks to additional research by volunteers of the Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation it was established this week that ‘Katharina Zokolowa’ is in reality Yekaterina Karpovna Tsokalo from Dubrovka near Kiev.

After the German invasion of the Soviet Union Yekaterina was deported to Germany as a slave labourer. She ended up in the Krupp factory in Rheinhausen, near Duisburg, where she had to perform forced labour in appalling conditions with thousands of other Ostarbeiter.

In the final, chaotic phase of the war Yekaterina found herself in the Netherlands. Probably first in the province of Limburg and eventually in the Frisian capital of Leeuwarden. Russian girls attracted attention and several of them – including presumably Yekaterina –  were interviewed by the Leeuwarder Koerier.

 

Katerina’s tombstone

Yekaterina was liberated in Leeuwarden. But because of the horrible treatment during slave labour, she suffered from a terminal disease: lung tuberculosis. Months after the end of the war – on 23 September 1945 – she succumbed in the Sint Bonifatius hospital. She was 21 years old.

Yekaterina was first buried in Huizum. On 14 May 1948 she received a final resting place at the Soviet war cemetery. Her family never learned of her fate. Volunteers of the Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation managed to trace her relatives and informed them of what had happened to Yekaterina. Her niece spontaneously burst into tears. At last they knew where Yekaterina had gone.