“We survived thanks to the plant”

“I remember. Yungorodok” premiered November 26 in Perm historical park “Russia – My History”. The documentary focused on life and labor feat of the teenagers who worked at the engine building plant No. 19 during the Great Patriotic War.


The film was presented by its film-makers – the idea initiator and head of Perm engine building history museum - Valeria Gavrilova and film director – Sergey Lepikhin.


- For us, the creation of this film has become an invaluable experience – said Valeria Gavrilova – The history of Perm Engines is brimming with unique events – both tragic and outstanding. One of the most crucial key periods is the Great Patriotic War, some historical chapters of which are still obscure. We have filmed the memories of five women involved in the events who recalled their life in youth campuses (yungorodok) during war and post-war years. I want to express my gratitude to our heroines agreed to cast in the film and imparted their stories “on camera”.


The whole generation grew up in the youth campuses. Engine building plant No. 19 built 77 barracks where several thousand people lived. Daily the plant released 30 engines for the front due to the relentless work (including efforts of the teenagers).


Zoya A. Alikina, one of the film heroines, recalls:

- It was the plant what saved me, if I weren’t sent here, most certainly I wouldn’t have survived…I came at the production in summer 1944, I didn’t age even 11 yet. On the reverse side of the birth certificate there was a sign: “Accepted”. I had small salary paid. At work I was so exhausted so I couldn’t even wash up. Came back home and slept “from work till work”…I was employed as an errand-girl in shop 10. When shop head –Kukareko saw me, he said; “If only you were taller, such small and skinny we will send to an orphanage”. I replied: “I’d rather die”. So he let me stay on condition to work for 6 hours till 15.00 and not to walk between the machines. He uttered threat that if I broke the rules he would send me to the orphanage. After work I could spend hours watching the machines operating, it was so fascinating. I didn’t want to return to the dorms. My sister and I were settled in barracks on Obvinskaya str.


The film has shots describing unique photo made in November 1944 in the plant director A.G. Soldatov’s office. The photo captures teenagers - “shock workers” - graduated trade schools. The photo went down in history as “A jar of jam” by the name of Vladimir Radkevich’s poem. The legendary director gave a jar of stewed fruit/berry drink and a pair of valenki (felt boots).

According to the film heroines, it was the director A.G. Soldatov who helped the teenagers to survive – they were given with soap and coupons for extra messing and bread…


Sergey Lepikhin, film director:

- I want to thank a lot the film heroines for their sincere stories. I regret that a lot of other interesting stories left behind-the-scene. But I bet they will remain for descendants and, for sure, will be of use in the museum of Perm engine building history.


Olga Krasavina, HR Director, JSC UEC-Perm Engines:

- The most precious that each of us has - is life. It’s quite hard to imagine how these young girls who weren’t ready for such a hardship struggled at that time, but got through. I’m glad that the film has been screened. For that reason it’s important to keep the memories of those years. Thanks a lot to the film heroines. Their stories are the most valuable what the film contains.


The film was shot within “Revival of historical memories” project by Perm Region Ministry of culture and supported by JSC UEC-Perm Engines.  


The nearest screening is December 15, at 19.00, Premier film center (17, Pionerskaya str.).