Tombs of prisoners of war and partisans dead in Belgium during the Second World War

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Sprimont (Dotsenko Monument)

In the settlement of Sprimont, Liège province (in the vicinity of Comblain-au-Pont, 120 km South-East of Brussels), on the bank of the River Amblève, on the isolated closed private territory there is a monument to Commissar of the Soviet partisan party E.I. Dotsenko. The monument was erected immediately after the war by Soviet partisans and local residents in the place where their comrade-in-arms was killed by a German patrol (this story is best documented in the article by V. Shlyakhterman “Russians in the Ardennes” and on the website of S.V. Dybov).

The monument is a concrete slab in the shape of a shield with a five-pointed star at the top. It reads in Russian:

“You fell in the fight against German fascism.
Our Motherland will not forget you!
We will avenge you!
Glory to you, Evgeniy Dotsenko!
Stalingrad.
Born on 18.2.1912
Killed on: 1.4.1944”

Previously, there was a marble plate at the bottom signed in French “En ce lieu a été lâchement abattu par les fascistes allemands, notre regretté Evguenii DOTZENKO né à Stalingrad le 18-2-1912, décédé le 1-4-1944” (“At this place Evgeniy Dotsenko, about whom we mourn, was treacherously killed by German fascists. He was born in Stalingrad on 18.2.1912, killed on 1.4.1944”.) It has been lost in recent years.


That is how monument looked like in 1945 immediately after its erection.


Appearance of the monument in the 1950s. For a long time, Lillian Desopper tended the obelisk.

 

In recent years, the monument is in utter desertion.

In November 2011, employees of the Russian Embassy in Belgium carried out repair works.

A more detailed history of the monument can be found on S.V. Dybov website.

 

 Biography

DOTSENKO Evgeniy Iosifovich (1912–1944) – major of the Soviet Army, member of the Resistance movement in Belgium. He began his career as the first assistant commander for political affairs in the factory apprenticeship school, which later turned into vocational school No. 4 (now KGOU NPO “Professional Lyceum No.12”) in Barnaul, Russia.

In 1938, E.I. Dotsenko entered the military school, after which, on June 9, 1941 he arrived to the Western border as a political officer of the signal troop of 99th infantry division, which entered the battle on June 22, 1941 near Przemysl. He was surrounded near Uman and was reported missing since June 1941. The circumstances of capture are not fully known. According to reports, he was captured by the police when leaving the surrounding in one of the Ukrainian villages. In early 1942, he was transferred from the Mulheim camp (Germany) to work in Belgium, where he escaped from the captivity. He took refuge in the mountains, then joined the Belgian Resistance.

In 1943, on the initiative of Lieutenant Colonel K.D. Shukshin, who escaped from captivity in Limburg province, a partisan brigade “For the Motherland!” was created from among the Soviet escapees (the brigade’s history is described in A. Wolf’s book In a foreign country). E.I. Dotsenko was appointed a Commissioner of the 4th unit of the brigade, which was called “Franko”. The unit consisted of about 30 people. After the elimination of the police chief of Liège and the destruction of the power line leaving the large industrial center without electricity, the capture of Dotsenko was offered a reward of 500,000 Belgian francs. On April 1, 1944, while crossing the River Amblève, Dotsenko was ambushed and killed.

E.I. Dotsenko was posthumously awarded the Order of the Patriotic War “For courage and bravery shown in the struggle against the Nazi invaders in the ranks of the Belgian partisans during World War II”.

He was buried in Comblain-au-Pont. The name of E.I. Dotsenko in Belgium is also associated with the monument “Dotsenko Tree” and a memorial cross in the Citadel of Liège).

E.I. Dotsenko is told about in the documentary film “Soldiers of the Resistance” (1980) and A. Sladkov’s “Military Program” as of 15.05.2011 (“Rossiya” TV-channel).

In preparing the materials, the information from the websites of S.V. Dybov and KGOU NPO “Professional Lyceum No.12” in Barnaul was used.

About the installation of a memorial plate in Sprimont, March 22, 2012.

 

Annual memorial ceremonies

2011 г.

 

L’Ambassade remercie Monsieur Sergey Dybov pour l’information fournie.

Nos remerciements particuliers à Messieurs Armand Collin, Paul Degee et Willy Lallemand pour les documents fournis et l’assistance accordée à l’Ambassade dans ses recherches du monument.



Dear visitors,

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that spelling of the names, surnames and places of birth of Soviet citizens buried in Belgium may be distorted due to the fact that they are quite often written only in Flemish and French in registration books and on monuments.

We thank the Brussels-Belgian Archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, the organizations of Russian compatriots and Russian foreign institutions accredited in Belgium for providing photos and their efforts to preserve the memory of the heroism of the Soviet soldiers who fell in the Great Patriotic War.

The Embassy will be grateful for providing any information and photos of Soviet military graves of the Second World War in Belgium and the ceremonies held on them. Please send material to the email address of the Embassy amrusbel@skynet.be with the note «War Graves».