The death match is a football match played in Nazi-occupied Kyiv in the summer of 1942 between the Soviet and German teams. A number of football players from Kiev were shot; rumored to have refused to lose the meeting.
Before talking about myself death matchLet’s delve a little into the background. In 1941, when the Germans succeeded in capturing Kyiv, a large group of football players remained in the capital of Ukraine. These were Nikolai Klimenko, Igor Kuzmenko, Nikolai Korotkikh, Mikhail Goncharenko, Viktor Sukharev, Nikolai Trusevich, Vladimir Balakin, Mikhail Melnik, Mikhail Putistin, Mikhail Sviridovsky. The players were involved in the construction of defensive structures and could not subsequently get out of the siege. During the fascist occupation, famine prevailed in Kyiv. But through an acquaintance, the players managed to get a job as workers at the bakery No. 1. We worked as a team — just like we once played. In order to distract from hard work and not lose their sports skills, every day after work the football players played in the factory yard and practiced a lot. Although the Germans seized more and more Ukrainian land, the players did not part with the hope that the enemy would be defeated and they would still be able to play for Dynamo Kiev.
The guys named their new team “Start”. But every citizen of Kiev knew who they were. After all, before the war, Dynamo Kiev played just as brightly as they do today. The Nazis also knew this, but for the time being they did not touch it, not seeing any threat in the players. A year later, in the summer of 1942, the German command decided to diversify the cultural life of the captured capital and opened a “Ukrainian” stadium on Bolshaya Vasylkivska Street. However, Ukrainians were not allowed to enter. Football was a game for pure-blooded Aryans.
Most likely, it was precisely with the aim of demonstrating the strength of the Aryan nation that the Germans decided to hold a series of football matches in which German players would oppose the best teams from foreigners. They just remembered the “Start” command. And Ukrainians were allowed to come to the stadium, which had been closed before. Let them look at the defeat of their former idols.
The first game took place on June 5, 1942. The decoration of the grand opening of the stadium was a football match. “Start” defeated the Ukrainian team “Rukh” with a score of 7: 2. The rest of the games with the participation of “Start” were held at the stadium “Zenith”, which is on Kerosinnaya Street
June 21 “Start” — the team of the Hungarian garrison — 6:2.
July 5 “Start” — the Romanian team — 11:0.
July 12 “Start” — a team of military railway workers — 9:1.
July 17 “Start” — military team “PGS” — 6:0.
July 19 “Start” — “MSG.Wal.” (Hungary) — 5:1.
July 26 “Start” — “MSG.Wal.” — 3:2.
Then the Flakelf team (team of German anti-aircraft gunners) played against the Soviet football players.
The first meeting took place on August 6, 1942. “Start” won with a crushing score of 5:1.
Three days later, the Germans staged a rematch, putting together a reinforced team. Before the start of the game, the players greeted each other. The Germans: “Heil!”, the people of Kiev: “Physical education — hello!”. The first goal was scored by the Germans. Then Ivan Kuzmenko equalized the score with a long-range shot, and Makar Goncharenko scored two goals in the first half. The second half was held in an equal tough fight. The Germans scored two goals and equalized the score, but then the “Start” pulled out a 5:3 victory. It was this fight in the Soviet Union that later became known as death match, at the end of which the players were allegedly shot. It was said that before the match, a German commander, who was watching the match, entered the locker room of Dynamo football players. And in a harsh form, threatening with camps and execution, he ordered to lose.
Behind the fence, on the right side, there was a dressing room, the door of which was open, and I went inside. In the room were: N. Trusevich, putting on a sweater, A. Klimenko was already in uniform, eating bread, breaking off pieces, and another one, whom I did not know, was lacing up his boots. At that moment, an officer came in and kicked me out of the locker room. What he talked about with the players will remain a secret forever. O. Yasinsky.
Perhaps things were a little different. Just for the 25th anniversary of the Victory, at the suggestion of the KGB, the Central Committee of the CPSU and personally Leonid Brezhnev, propaganda was launched to restore historical justice. Then the title of Hero of the Soviet Union was posthumously awarded to NKVD saboteur Ivan Kudra, who died in the Kiev underground. After lengthy investigations, the players of the Start team were also rehabilitated, who after the war were summoned for interrogation by the KGB for a long time almost as traitors to the motherland. Now they are heroes. Dynamo players N. Trusevich, A. Klimenko, I. Kuzmenko and M. Korotkikh were posthumously awarded the medal ”For Courage”, and the surviving players of the ”Start”: B. Balakin, N. Goncharenko, N. Melnikov, M. Pustynin, V. Sukharev and N. Sviridov were awarded the medal ”For Military Merit”.
The invaders, anticipating their defeat on the football field, did not want to humiliate their army. Therefore, the match was organized at the small stadium “Zenith”, located far from the city center. But despite the plans of the Nazis, Kyiv fans filled the stadium to capacity — they stood in the aisles, on the trees. This meeting evoked a surge of patriotism among the Soviet people. It was not football passions that raged at the stadium. Everything turned as if there was a battle between the teams of the Wehrmacht and the Red Army. Most of the fans had someone at the front. The stadium roared, anti-fascist cries were heard. The Germans did not like it, they arrested many brawlers and fans, they fired from machine guns and pistols into the air …
But after the match ended, the Germans did not arrest a single player. The proof is that after the football match ”Flakelf” — ”Start” the Kyiv team played two more matches. One — with the same ”Flakelf”, which took place on August 9, 1942, and the second one – with the ”Rukh” team, which included workers from the Ukrainian authorities and workers from local factories. Both matches ”Start” won. Football matches ”Start” ended only in autumn, when it started to rain.
So what really happened and where did the legend of the “death match” come from, according to which the entire winning team was allegedly shot by the Germans?
Here is what Yu. Krasnoshchok said about this:
“During the fascist occupation, while working at a telephone exchange, I heard from the Germans, as well as from Ukrainian policemen, that the Dynamo team was arrested not for winning the match, but because they, working at the bakery No. 1, threw it into flour, from which baked bread for German organizations in Kyiv, broken glass. Many workers of the bakery were arrested, including four Dynamo workers — Trusevich, Klimenko, Kuzmenko and Korotkikh. My acquaintance of the state security officer later told me about the same. Yes, and the former chairman of the Kyiv council Leonty Forostovsky in his book ”Kyiv under fortune-telling occupations” he does not write anything about the execution of the team.
It should be noted that out of the sixteen players of Start, the occupiers shot only four, and all of them were lieutenants of the NKVD. It just so happened in Soviet football: the players of the Lokomotiv team were paid as drivers, the players of Dynamo were paid as employees of the NKVD. This was the main reason for their arrest. Who, if not officers of the NKVD, could be suspected of terrorism. But the four players mentioned were not involved in this sabotage.”
Their rivals, German and Hungarian football players, came to the defense of the arrested Kyiv Dynamo players. German athletes still have the ideals of fair wrestling, because not so much time has passed since they organized the XI World Sports Olympiad in Berlin in 1936. They did not believe that such talented football players would throw glass into bread intended for military hospitals, the wounded and medical staff, for women mobilized by the Nazis to work in the occupation administration of the country. And perhaps it would have been possible to avoid the execution of Kyiv football players. But after the arson of the sports equipment factory ”Sport”, where sleds for the German army were being repaired, the Gestapo shot more than half of the workers in this small factory and liquidated 200 hostages in the Syrets camp. Four Dynamo players also got into this group …
case about death match, played by football players of Ukraine and Nazi Germany in the summer of 1942, initiated by the prosecutor’s office of Hamburg back in 1974, was recently finally closed by investigators. According to the press secretary of the Hamburg prosecutor’s office Rüdeger Bagger, the commission of inquiry thoroughly studied the data provided not only by the Ukrainian side, but also the materials seized from the film crew of the first German television channel ARD
“Representatives of German justice had the opportunity to speak with witnesses who were still children during the match,” the radio station quoted Bagger as saying. German investigators managed to find out the circumstances of the death of Ukrainian players. Rüdeger Bagger explained: “It was possible to find out that the players Nikolai Trusevich, Ivan Kuzmenko and Aleksey Klimenko died a long time after the game, or rather, in the spring of 1943 in a concentration camp on Syrets. They were shot at the direction of the camp commandant. unrelated to the outcome of that game.” To prove the existence of the SS officer who threatened the players still failed.
In 1965, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR awarded the surviving participants in the death match with medals “For Military Merit”. The dead were awarded medals “For Courage”. Thus, a football victory was equated to a military feat on the battlefield. And at the Dynamo stadium in Kyiv, a monument dedicated to the feat of fearless football players was erected.