Sisters separated during Battle of Stalingrad reunite 78 YEARS later

Incredible moment sisters separated during the Battle of Stalingrad are reunited 78 YEARS later

  • Rosalina Kharitonova, now 94, worked in a factory bombed by the Nazis in 1942
  • Her distraught family including sister Yulia, now 92, assumed that she was dead 
  • The pair met again in Chelyabinsk in a reunion filmed by Russian channel NTV

Two sisters separated during the chaos of war at the Battle of Stalingrad have met again 78 years later in an astonishing reunion.

Rosalina Kharitonova, now 94, was working in a tank factory which was bombed by the Nazis in 1942.

Her distraught family including younger sister Yulia, now 92, assumed she was dead, one of two million victims in the most bloody confrontation in World War Two.

In fact, Rosalina was not in the factory when it was hit but on an evacuation ferry crossing the Volga River which was also struck by Hitler’s Luftwaffe.

 Rosalina Kharitonova (right), now 94, and her younger sister Yulia, now 92 (left) met after 78  years apart in Chelyabinsk, Russia

Her son Yury Ponomarev said: ‘They were loaded onto ferries, and my mother told how, after the latest explosion, she was washed away from the ferry into the Volga.

‘She nearly drowned, but some military man pulled her out.’

She and other survivors walked the 240 miles to Saratov from where she was ordered to go to Chelyabinsk in the Urals to work at another tank plant.

The women in their family including Yulia were soon evacuated to Soviet Central Asia – and Rosalina had no way to find them during or after the war, although she never gave up looking.

‘We were told that Rosa (Rosalina) had died, and this sounded right, we did not search for her,’ said Yulia as the pair met again in Chelyabinsk in an astonishing and heartwarming reunion filmed by Russian channel NTV. 

Rosalina Kharitonova, now 94, was working in a tank factory which was bombed by the Nazis in 1942. The pair kiss during the reunion 

Rosalina’s distraught family including younger sister Yulia, now 92, assumed she was dead, one of two million victims in the most bloody confrontation in World War Two

It is in the year when the wartime Allies will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of hostilities in Europe.

Asked if she is happy to see her sister, Yulia said: ‘And what do you think? But now… I remember Rosa as a young girl… and now I will only see an old lady.’

When they met, Rosalina broke into tears.

Using the fond Russian name for Yulia, she wept: ‘Yulenka, oh my God… oh…’

They hugged and kissed for the first time in more than three quarters of a century during the meeting.

Yulia told Rosalina: ‘I still remember our house, how we rode the sledge down the slope.’

Rosalina (left) and Yulia (right) when they were young women. Rosalina recalled of her childhood in Stalingrad – now Volgograd: ‘There were four of us kids: me, Galina who was my twin, Yury and Yulia. We lived good’

Rosalina clasped her hands and the laughed.

‘We were parted by war,’ she said.

Svetlana Repova, Yulia’s daughter, said: ‘My mother told us that when the bombing was over she, her mother Olga and Rosalina twin sister Galina went to the site of the factory.

‘They came and all their workshop was totally destroyed. Only lumps of cement were left.’

They were told that Rosalina was dead.

After moving to Chelyabinsk, she married and had two children.

Rosalina recalled of her childhood in Stalingrad – now Volgograd: ‘There were four of us kids: me, Galina who was my twin, Yury and Yulia. We lived good.

Rosalina, first from the left) during her time at the tractor making factory when she was younger

‘But then war was declared and the fighting started.’

Aged 15 she was sent to work in a tractor factory which was converted into making tanks.

‘Yes, I was making tanks, you know, crankshafts for them,’ she said.

‘There were a lot of warning sirens at the factory, you just came out [from the shelter] to start work and heard the sirens again, and hide. We were hiding all the time.’

She was ordered to live in a dormitory near the factory and not to communicate with her family about her secret work.

But she did tell them about her work.

The pair (pictured) met again in Chelyabinsk in an astonishing and heartwarming reunion filmed by Russian channel NTV

‘When Rosa came and told us she is now working at the factory I was still playing with dolls then and here she was making tanks,’ said Yulia.

‘I told mum: ‘I’m so sorry for Rosa!’

In fact, Yulia was also working in a secret job – as a telegraph operator in war-ravaged Stalingrad.

The family suffered previously in the war, as did so many Russians.

Their father Pavel and brother Yury went missing at the front.

In central Asia, their mother Olga died of hunger, and sister Galina succumbed to typhoid.

They hugged and kissed for the first time in more than three quarters of a century during the meeting

Asked if she is happy to see her sister, Yulia said: ‘And what do you think? But now… I remember Rosa as a young girl… and now I will only see an old lady’

A few fading family pictures survive from their happy pre-war days but it is not clear who is who in the pictures.

Yulia later moved to Penza in central Russia and worked as a teacher.

Yulia hoped that she might find Yury and was looking for him on a Russian website seeking to reunite war-divided families.

Her daughter Svetlana explained: ‘I spotted that someone was searching for my mum.

‘We learned that it was some Rosa, who was looking.

‘It turned out she had already been evacuated to the opposite riverbank, when the family had been hunting for for her in the debris.

For their meeting (pictured) mother-of-three Yulia (left) travelled 750 miles by train with one of her daughters, Olga

‘We were so shocked that we had such a relative.’

It took the police to track down Rosalina at her new address.

Russian police spokesperson Irina Volk said: ‘The officers got in touch with both women, after which the assumption that they could be relatives was confirmed.

‘So people who were separated by the war in their youth and apart for 78 long years, who did not lose hope of a meeting, found each other again.

‘Their long awaited reunion took place in Chelyabinsk.’

For their meeting mother-of-three Yulia travelled 750 miles by train with one of her daughters, Olga.

The Battle of Stalingrad lasted from 23 August 1942 to 2 February 1943, and the Red Army victory – won at a colossal cost – represented a major setback for Hitler.

Source: Read Full Article