Truth – Legends / Dr. Moisei (Moshe) Semionovitch Nemionov
Dr. Moisei (Moshe) Semionovitch Nemionov - At the Ninth Fort registered as Nemirov Michael and in Garnik's report as Nemionov Michael.
Doctor Nemionov, “chief firefighter” of the Ninth Fort, was fifty-two when the escape took place. On Friday, December 24, 1943, at the end of a day’s work, he wrote alongside the burning fire the balance for the day in his notebook: the 44th fire, 12,083 “dolls."
He learned about the escape on the very last day, as did most of the prisoners, and at the very last moment. He told Anatoli that he would not go and that he would find a rope to hang himself with. He asked to be locked into some place where one could not hear his shouts when his nerves could no longer hold out... He warned that he would call the Germans... we forced him to go along with everyone, but...
I do not know exactly what his fate was but he was included in the number of prisoners who were caught, of whom the Gestapo in Kovno informed Berlin, that on January 13, 1944: “we caught thirty-seven of the escapees from the Ninth Fort, five of whom were shot."
During my stay in Moscow, I looked for Dr. Nemionov’s family. I found his address in the report of Garnik’s interrogation: Moscow, Lubertzi Station, 6 Smirnov Street, Apartment 1. But no one at that address knew anything about the Nemionov family. I applied to the information office and there I was given the address according to the details I had supplied them with in my request. I found a young couple there, both of them students of medicine. He was the son of Michael Semionovitch Nemionov, but his father was not a doctor, he was a railway worker. I was disappointed. I sat there and we talked for a time... The woman remembered that she had heard of that family, or had read something about them...She took out a book and read that the Nemionovs were famous doctors: one was an assistant to the minister of health in the Soviet government; another – a well-known professor of roentgenology; the third – a professor of stomatology. They remained in the book, for unfortunately they had all been dead for some time. I was disappointed but did not give up hope.
When it was time for me to leave, I decided to go to the central telephone exchange and look for a Moscow telephone book. There I found tens of subscribers with the name of Nemionov. After skipping all those whose father’s names were not Michael, I began to phone around. When I reached the last number on my list, I heard in the background someone saying: “Maria, someone is looking for Misha’s family!” I told them who I was and what I wanted. Apparently, the two women were Nemionov's sisters. “Oy," said Maria, "yesterday his son Vitali was here.” As I was in a hurry to make my train, I left them my telephone number and asked them to give it to Vitali. I doubted that this was the family I was seeking. There were already many instances of the family names being suitable but which turned out not to be the one I was looking for.
A few days later, there was a phone call from Moscow. Vitali, Moisei’s son, was speaking. I was careful and asked him a number of details about his father. My heart began to beat wildly and my body felt as if it was electrified. Sima stood alongside me. The moment Vitali told me that his father had studied medicine in Germany, mentioning Heidelberg, I no longer had any doubt that I had found the son of Moisei Semionovitch Nemionov. I asked him to write to me about his father and about himself.
Some time later, I travelled with Sima to visit him. We invited him and his wife to visit us and they did so in the summer of 1966. We travelled with them throughout Lithuania and also visited the Ninth Fort. Vitali wrote about his father and the family in the Kovno daily Kauno Tiesa (no.163 – 4456) of July 14, 1966:
“One day, the telephone rang at the home of Engineer Vitali Nemionov. His wife Raissa became frightened when she saw her husband’s face turn pale, so much so that Vitali literally changed as she was observing him. On the phone, she could hear the familiar voice of her aunt: ‘There is a comrade looking for your father...they were together in the Ninth Fort.’”
Vitali was five years old when, together with his mother, he accompanied his father to the front. He had volunteered for the army. There were lots of people on the platform, his father’s friends. The train went off in the direction of the front.
Moisei Nemionov finished his medical studies in Germany together with his future wife, Yevgenija Vasilievna, who specialized in stomatology. They lived in a suburb of Moscow. Moisei worked as the chief doctor of a hospital. After the death of his eldest son (who died at the age of twelve from leukemia) they moved to Liubertzi, near Moscow, where he worked as director of the health department.
During the first few months of the war, the family received short letters from their father and a small photograph. After that, there was no contact with him whatsoever. They received the message that Moisei Nemionov, army doctor, second grade, was missing after a battle. The family did not give up hope and waited. On the door of his room in the health department his name was still hanging and remained there for quite a while. Friends also continued to hope that he would be found. Later on, the sign was ceremoniously handed over to Vitali...
In April 1971, a night before we were due to fly from Moscow to Israel, Sima and I, together with my daughter Mirit and my son Jacov, spent the night at Vitali’s home. He joined us and kept us company until the last moment. He held a very responsible role as director of the gas system in the Kremlin and the surrounding vicinity, which included most of the official and party institutions. His relationship with us could have seriously endangered his position. He did not want to listen to warnings, claiming that he had found a second father in me, that he would not see me again, and that he was not interested in what may happen to him. In 1991, his daughter Lena came to visit us. Today, she is the mother of a boy and lives with her family in Moscow. She hopes to visit Israel again, together with her husband. Vitali and Raissa are retired, and live in the same apartment in Moscow. They have a summer home with hothouses and a garden near Moscow. In other words, they live in the same manner as other Muscovites of the same class.