Members of the NWW2A’s 13th Guards living history group (LHG) travelled to Torgau, Germany (April 2015) to take part in the commemorations marking the 70th Anniversary of Allied and Soviet Forces meeting at the River Elbe on the 24th April 1945. This years commemorative event took place on the 25th April at Torgau on the Elbe. The event gave the 13th Guards LHG the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the men and women who served with Soviet 13th Guards Division almost 70 years to the day earlier, when they visited nearby Muhlberg on Elbe river where the Division are known to have been on 24th April 1945. The next visit, to the nearby site of the POW camp M. Stammlager IV-B, took in one of the largest POW camps in Germany during the Second World War, the camp was liberated by the Red Army on the 23 April 1945.
The 13th Guards LHG were hosted at the Militarhistorische Rad- und Kettenfahrzeuge Military Vehicle Museum in Torgau along with other clubs from Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany. They also had the privilege of meeting Mr Joseph Wolff, son of Joseph Polowsky, from Chicago. Joe Polowsky was a member of the original “Kotzebue patrol”, the very first US Army troops to meet up with Red Army soldiers on the Elbe. He was also instrumental in the forging of post war international friendship links between the US and the USSR. In his will he asked to be buried in Torgau, on November 26th 1983 he was buried there with military honors.
“As a result of our meeting with Mr Wolff, 13th Guards together with their friends from Club Division, Moscow, hope to initiate future collaborations between US and Russian veteran organisations.” said a spokesman for the group.
Along with other participants members of the 13th Guards LHG were presented with official 70th Anniversary commemorative medals Army General Ermakov, from the Organisation of the Veterans of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and diplomas for work in promoting international friendship and medallions from the “Spirit of the Elbe” organisation.
During the outward and return journeys of their week long trip the group also took the opportunity to visit historical sites including the Mohne Dam, Colditz Castle and Arnhem
The NWW2A’s 13th Guards members have been invited back to Russia in September 2015 and for the Victory Day commemorations in Moscow 2016.