Andrey Mikhailovich Semychev



Andrey Mikhailovich Semychev (Андрей Михайлович Семычев) was born in 1917 in the village of Podvyazye in the province of Nizhni Novgorod, fifteen kilometres from the town of Bogorodsk, on the river Oka.

Unfortunately not much is known of Andrey. He fought in the Soviet army as ‘krasnoarmeets’, soldier of the Red Army. Where and when he was called up and was taken prisoner is unclear. His family never got any letters from the front.

In any case Andrey ended up in a POW-camp in the west of Nazi-Germany, probably Stalag VI K (326), and otherwise either Stalag VI D or Stalag VI A. In this camp in April 1945 the Americans encountered tens of thousands of starving, severely weakened prisoners of war from the Soviet Union. Liberated did not mean cured: many thousands of soldiers died of tuberculosis and other diseases. Most of those buried in Leusden succumbed to tbc.

Several prisoners were so hungry that they looted the surrounding area. Others were so happy the war had finally ended that they consumed large quantities of alcohol. To forget the horrors of what they had gone through. Or out of fear for what awaited them back home from a regime that regarded prisoners of war as potential traitors.

At any rate it did not occur to them that their bodies had become so weak that they were taking huge risks. Many died of ‘acute alcoholism’. So too Andrey Mikhailovich. He passed away on 31 May 1945 in Lippstadt.

The Americans brought his remains to the American Military Cemetery in Margraten, where he was buried on 4 June 1945 at 13.00 hours in section GGG, row 2, grave # 35.

On 15 December 1947 his body was exhumed and on 22 December reburied at the Soviet War Cemetery on the municipal boundary of Leusden and Amersfoort. His name is depicted on the stone numbered 743, as noted by the Americans: Simachow, Andrej (Cимахов Андрей).

His family never knew what happened to Andrey. In December 2010 researcher Remco Reiding traced his relatives. The soldier’s sister, Klavdia, died in 1979 in the same village where Andrey was born. In the sixties she had made enquiries about the fate of her brother, but in vain.

Only a niece, Nina Andreyevna Zenchova-Semycheva was still alive. There is no photograph of Andrey