The Netherlands / Biography
Konstantin Grigoryevich Butorin was born in 1909 in the far east of Kazakhstan. At ten years of age he leaves the parental home in the village of Uryl to go to work for an uncle. When turning sixteen he decides to become independent. First he works as a farmhand, then as a woodcutter, kolkhoz labourer and warehouse assistant. He performs his military service in the Far East with the NKVD, the internal security service.
After his return Konstantin works for some time as a night guard in a bank, where he is then promoted to administrative duties. He moves to the village of Alexeyevka and gets an appointment as tax inspector.
Konstantin marries Lubov Kandakova, who is three years his junior. They get five sons. Vladimir, Valentin, Yuri, Yevgeni and Oleg. The last son is born when Konstantin has left home already. When war breaks out he is immediately called up. As sergeant first class they put him in charge of a platoon. It does not take long before he is captured. In a POW-camp Konstantin runs into fellow villager Nikolai Merkulov.
“He returned after the war and told us that they had arranged for an escape”, remembers Konstantin’s son Valentin. “But they were caught and severely beaten. They were lucky to get off with merely a thrashing, for they could just as well have been shot.”
Yet Konstintin makes another attempt to flee. He hides in the reeds with a large group of escapees, says Merkulov to Valentin. But they are discovered and chased from their hiding place with machine guns and dogs. They can hear the artillery fire of the Allies close by, but the prisoners are driven onwards. When someone falls down from exhaustion and receives no help from his mates, the guards shoot him or have him finished off by their dogs.
In villages where there is a Red Cross presence the guards hand over the weakest captives. Konstantin is also left behind. When the Americans arrive the dangerously ill Konstantin is brought to a hospital: the Auguste-Viktoria clinic in the German town of Bad Lippspringe. On 14 May 1945 he succumbs to tuberculosis.
On May 22 he is buried in Margraten and on 27 November he is moved to his last resting place at the Soviet War Cemetery in Leusden. His name is written in the grave register after number 519.
His family is never told what happened to Konstantin. In 2004 Remco Reiding traces his relatives and informs them of his fate. A year later his son Yevgeni Butorin kneels at the grey tombstone of his father.