As many as 14 million Soviet troops lost their lives in the fight against Hitler, presumably leaving behind millions of grieving parents, children and wives. But for one Russian woman, Mariya Oktyabrskaya, grief after the death of her husband in action wasn’t enough. She wanted revenge, and she set about getting it in the most extraordinary and determined way.
The Russians call what we know as World War II the Great Patriotic War. While the war in western Europe started in 1939, it didn’t commence for the Soviet Union until 1941. That was because up until then the Nazi-Soviet pact had guaranteed that neither country would attack the other.
But then Hitler treacherously invaded Russia on June 22, 1941, and the epic struggle between the Soviet Communists and the German Nazis began. At first, Hitler’s stormtroopers swept across Russian territory and, after a stunning series of defeats of the Red Army, by 1942 were at the gates of Moscow.