Russian soldier – an update

victorian post mortem photography world war II russian soldier verkov

I have the best readers! A very lovely person going by the username Siberian has been digging out info on the above post mortem photo, which first appeared on the Skull early last year. Although he (I’m assuming you’re a he, Siberian – many apologies if you’re a lady!) couldn’t trace the deceased lady in the picture, he gave me loads of other lovely snippets of information. Rather than it getting lost in the comments under a blog post, I thought it would be nice to give them an article of their own.

As Siberian quite evidently knows a great deal more about Russian soldiers than I do, I will simply quote the info he sent me, minus my not-particularly-useful replies inbetween:

1st message:

Basing on dress uniform and rank signs on collar, this photo should be dated 1940-1942, officer at photo is soviet motorized infantry colonel. I tried to indentify him, is he? , so his name probably is Ivan Prokofievich Verkov, and he was a colonel since 1940. Then, since 1941 and WW2 Russian campaign starting he was a tank regiment commander, then, after wound – commander of tank crews training center in Stalingrad. At my photo he is general-major, and my photo dates 1945. For my sorrow, I fail to found neither name of dead women, nor boy`s name . Probably, his wife and son, but…
Hope it was useful.


2nd message:

Well. Some more facts about Comrade Colonel Verkov. His uniform allow us to narrow dates range of photo. Four signs on collar – rank of colonel – was established May 7 1940. Before it was not more then three. And studying Col. Verkov’s war biograhy(no family or private info…eeehhh) tell us he was subcommander of motorized infantry regiment since 1938 till July 20 1940, when his regiment was reorganised and rearmed to tank regiment, and Verkov got level up to regiment commander. But. Russian officers traditionally are very sensitive in uniform issues. So, since July 20 1940 Verkov had to wear tankists uniform and collar.
So – we have got beginning of summer 1940 as date of our photo.
And a place. I guess, it is Lithuania, Alitusa war base, where regiment based during reorganisation and then until June 22 1941, Hitler’s attack.


3rd message:

Well, so I’ll give you some lyrical info about. Any officer’s photo is pre mortem by definition – “There is such a strange job – to defense Fatherland” – the hero of russian movie says. After June 22 1941 Col.Verkov and his regiment went to fire, were besieged by Nazis, then break the circle, reunited with Red Army main forces… But the boy – did he survive? Alitusa Military Base was fully destroyed with German bombs. Had he time to evacuate?.. And did the tomb of woman stay safe under war hurricane?.. And how did this photo arrive to English photographer collection? As Nazi soldier to Allied soldier prize? As emigrated colonel’s relatives stuff? Other way? It was quite strange for russian history fan to meet it at outborder site. So rare.
Today it is Col.Verkov Memory Day. He died August 2 1954. Buried at Voronezh City Cemetry, Russia. His tomb.And that’s all info I found.

To cap it all, Siberian even managed to find me a photograph of Colonel Verkov, to go with the information:

victorian post mortem photography skull illusion world war II russian soldier verkov
Colonel Ivan Prokofievich Verkov

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Siberian hugely for putting such time and effort into this – even if Colonel Verkov isn’t the man in the original photograph, the story in itself is utterly fascinating.



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4 Responses to Russian soldier – an update

  1. David says:

    What a great bit of research – well done!

  2. Siberian says:

    I’m severe Siberian Cossack, male ;) so no problem ;)

  3. Violet says:

    Hahahaha, excellent :D

  4. Pingback: Mr Moisey Pavlovich Shvetsov, post mortem -

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