Иван Сергеевич Складнев / Iwan Sergeewitsch Skladnew 1914 - 1942

17.8.1914 Uchlowo
25.4.1942 Mauthausen

In the summer of 1941, a month before the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, Ivan Sergeyevich Skladnev was conscripted for military training courses. He was 27 years old at that time. It seemed that after years of hunger and hardships the life of his family has begun to improve and the military training was supposed to take only forty-five days.

At Uholovo village station, his wife Zinaida Skladneva with baby son Volodya in her hands, two-year-old daughter Raisa and niece Tamara were seeing him off. Later Zinaida said that she felt that she would never see her husband again.

When the war started, Ivan Skladnev served in the 394th Infantry Regiment 110 Infantry Division (1st form). The division was established in the Moscow Military District, in the city of Tula. On 15 June 1941, as part of the “big training sessions”, the unit received 6,000 additional troops. On 27 June 1941 they started moving out to the front line and on 3 July 1941, the division arrived in Mogilev (now the territory of Belarus). The next day, two regiments of artillery advanced to the Dnieper River line north of Mogilev where they began to build a line of defense. On 13-14 July 1941 the division launched unsuccessful attacks on the Shklov, they were surrounded and divided in the Mogilev region.

The 394th Infantry Regiment, where Ivan served, while being surrounded, defended Mogilev with the 172nd Infantry Division. Within three weeks, the 172nd Infantry Division and other units of the 13th Army fought in Mogilev, pinning down no fewer than 4 infantry divisions of the enemy. Remnants of the division broke out of the encirclement on the night of July 27th and fought through the territory occupied by the enemy, reaching the Smolensk region. During this break (26 July 1941) Ivan Skladnev was captured by the Nazis.

Later, he was able to send a letter to Zinaida from a camp at Mogilev (probably with the help of local residents). Ivan wrote that he is in captivity and is going to be sent to a concentration camp near Budapest. A few terse lines were silent about the horrors of the death camps of Mogilev (district Lupolovo airport, Stalag 341).

A year later, Zinaida learned that a countryman, who was in a concentration camp together with her husband, has returned to Uholovo. He said that he fled from captivity with Ivan. Seven people participated in the escape. Prisoners were able to get over the fence, but were seen. Five of the seven were able to get away from the chase, but Ivan was not lucky: villager said they only saw him fall and being attacked by Hilfspolizei with dogs. Five escaped prisoner went through half of Europe and returned home.

Further information about Ivan Sergeyevich Skladnev is based on information obtained after the war from Germany and Austria. According to the documents, Ivan Skladnev was sent to the concentration camp Stalag VI B, Neu-Versen. Germany, Lower Saxony, Meppen.

On 20 October 1941 Ivan was transferred to the concentration camp of Mauthausen, Austria, with a conviction. (Camp number 8548, prisoner number 34915). He was among the first Soviet prisoners rounded up in this death camp from other camps. Most of them did not survive the spring of 1942.

There is a record dating from 17 January to 28 March 1942 stating that he was in the “hospital” with a broken arm. According to documents of the concentration camp, Ivan Sergeyevich Skladnev died on 25 April 1942 at 4:20 am. The stated cause of death was “edema, heart failure”. However, this line is certainly a formality: the death was a result of the inhuman conditions in the concentration camp. He probably died in the construction of the “Russian camp” or “Sanitätslager”, which was located at a distance of 100 meters from the former main camp. Now there is a monument in memory of Soviet prisoners of war.  

Olena Zubova, granddaughter