The Other Hundred Featured in The Guardian


The Guardian 

When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, thousands of young women served in the Red Army and partisan forces in Belarus. In the years since, they have been hailed as heroes and role models. Polish photographer Agnieszka Rayss met veterans for the photo book The Other Hundred


Maria Antonovna Pospielova Zaskovichi remembers a walk through the woods when she was in the partisan force. “I was surrounded by a pack of wolves. I had a pistol with only two bullets. I climbed onto the trunk of a felled pine tree, crossed myself, and they finally left.”


Anastasia Konstantinova Wishnievska was a truck driver through the war. “I lived through a lot... God forbid today’s young people should go through the same things we did.”


Galina Fediotovna Tarelko Maladziechna comes from a village in the Mogilev oblast. “The Germans executed communists, so we had to go into the forest. I cooked for the partisan troops; I was young, so others did the fighting.”


Elizaveta Ivanonvna Zienievich Maladziechna became a nurse in the partisan force. “My brother Alexander was shot by the Germans in a village near Zaskovichi and his body was brought into the command headquarters. They showed him to me and my sister, but we didn’t say who it was.’


Lida Pietrovna Bondar Maladziechna was a nurse whose parents survived the first world war. “If you’re constantly living in a war you finally don’t feel the fear because you get used to it. In some terrible way it was normal.”


Galina Ivanova Pagarelava Shchuchyn was a nurse at the Leningrad front, the Baltic front and the Karelian front. ‘”When we took the wounded away we were often bombarded by the Germans. We had ‘death passports’, metal tags with our name and last name to identify us in case we were killed. This is how the four years of war went by.”


Valentina Pietrovna Baranova was in the military communications corps, and is head of the veterans’ union in Grodno. “I’m a happy person. My years are my wealth,” she says.Agnieszka Rayss met the veterans in 2011 for The Other Hundred, a photo book which tells the stories of people whose lives, struggles and achievements deserve to be celebrated