“IMMEDIATELY AFTER LIBERATION, I DECIDED TO FORGET ABOUT THE CONCENTRATION CAMP AND TO PUT EVERYTHING OUT OF MY MIND ONCE AND FOR ALL. IT DID NOT OCCUR TO ME THAT AFTER SIXTY YEARS SOMEBODY WOULD ASK ME ABOUT IT.”
In 1942 Sofja Iwanowna was deported from the Crimea to Germany to perform forced labour. She was taken to a labour camp not far from Frankfurt am Main. After the factory was bombed by the British and the Americans, she was moved to another labour camp. From there, Sofja Iwanowna was taken to a farm. But three months later they returned her to the camp near Frankfurt. Living conditions deteriorated significantly. That is why she and other prisoners refused to eat supper once in protest. The workers were punished, so Sofja Iwanowna was imprisoned in Frankfurt. There was a court trial and, according to its verdict, she found herself in Ravensbrück.
Liberation came in 1945. For eight months, Sofja Iwanowna worked in the Soviet Army material supply department. In December of the same year she returned home to the Crimea, where she still lives today.
Her daughter Ljudmila about Sofja Schkatula:
“My mother hated to talk about what Ravensbrück meant in her life. I first found out about it by accident at the age of 10 or 12. Every night she would dream about the ‘dogs’ in the camp. From then on, I took care of her as much as I could.
Ravensbrück and its horrors never completely defeated the prisoners. Through willpower they held back their anger and hatred, which they did not show and which they stifled inside themselves. Their strength waned every day and as time went on they had less and less.
They would say that my mother had at least two guardian angels. I think her third guardian angel was her mother, who, through her wisdom, kindness, and patience, protected all her children from suffering during the war and from hunger and cold in the no less difficult post-war period. It was under her ‘wings’ that my mother wanted to be when she was in the camp.”
A friend of Sofja Iwanowna Schkatula