Pavel Michalov (b. Russia, 1934) lost his sight when his village was the scene of fighting between Russian and German forces in 1944. 'My father died as a partisan fighting the Germans. My mother and my sisters, Alexandra (19) and Barbara (17), continued to help the partisans. They gave them food and collected weapons left behind after fighting. On 29 May 1943, two Germans and four Russian collaborators who worked for the Germans came by and took my mother and my sisters away. They said it was 'for interrogation', my brother and I didn't have to come along, probably because we were too young. We saw them get shot 200 meters from our house. They were buried in a ditch which had been dug beforehand. We cried for a long time. Three days later, the Germans deported all the villagers to a camp near Vitebsk as punishment for helping the partisans. Many people starved in the camp. In July 1944 we were liberated by the Russians, but a grenade exploded during the fight. Several people were killed. When I came to after the blast I heard a beep in my ears, my right hand was gone and I couldn't see. I didn't understand what had happened. After the war I studied history at the State University in Moscow. I went on to become a history teacher. I hate fascists but I think highly of the Germans. They work hard, they have discipline and a sense of responsibility. Russians could learn something from them.'