From the book of V. Semenov “Genealogy. Code of Semenov”
It is always curious how other people spend their time in genealogy searches. Their successes and failures are interesting, what problems they face. Their experience in investigations.
Let us give an example of a completed, successful genealogical search made by the military genealogy Vitaly Semenov and cited in his book “Genealogy. Code of Semenov”, to which Genealogy Simple will subsequently release a review. Introducing your search history.
Monica Fritz’s father
In 2015, the book of Eleanor Dupuis Befreiungskind (“Child of Liberation”) was published in Austria, where she tells the story of her search, which, unfortunately, has not yet been crowned with success. The book is translated into Russian, and Eleanor herself learned Russian during her searches.
So, in 2014, Monica Fritz from Austria turned to me with a request to help find her father, and the story is this: My father was called Fedor Lopatin. We always thought that he was born on December 28, 1924. Then, back in 1945, he was only 21 years old. We do not know where he was born, but he grew up in Moscow, he was raised by his uncle, who was the “director of the bank.” His mother died of tuberculosis when he was still a child, as did his father. He said to himself that he was a Belarusian. It is also known that he had a sister. He was an officer of the Red Army, in a military unit that stood at Rohrendorf bei Krems in Austria. He spoke German reasonably well. My mother, Greta Fritz, also born in 1924, then lived in Krems with her sister Greta and her (sisters) little son Gerard.
She met my father when he was repairing Gerard’s scooter. In December 1945, my mother moved to the new address Zeltweg 198, Österreich. She was already pregnant by then. (Zeltweg is located in the foothills of the Alps, near Linz. It is absolutely certain that already from December 1945, Greta could not see Fedor Lopatin). I was born on June 1, 1946 in Knittelfeld, Austria. In early 1946, my father was transferred to the city of Doberlug (today called Doberlug-Kirchhain), this is near the Cottbus in East Germany. He stood at some private family. My father wrote letters to my mother and sent her money, his letters pleased her very much… Letters were preserved until May 4, 1947, the last letter was somewhere around 1950, but a new husband destroyed them. After that, silence that lasts until today…
My mother wrote to him for a long time under his name or, as he requested, under the name Theodor Spaten (translated from German – Fedor Lopatin), but there was no answer. My mother died only last year and until the end was waiting for information about him. And now I’m waiting. With additional questioning, it was possible to find out that Lopatin was studying something like engineering for the construction of bridges.
So, Rohrendorf-by-Krems, this is the suburb, (actually, the outskirts) of the city of Krems in Austria. I began my search by trying to determine which units were in Rohndorf? For this, I used dislocation lists. Dislocation lists reported that in Gedersdorf (which is called in the Soviet documents either Gadersdorf or Gadesdorf) for 1945–1946. there was 85 trading base of the 3rd Guards Tank Army, 2179 Surgical Field Hospital (KhPPG) of the same 3rd Guards Tank Army and 212 auto-sanitary platoons of 3 GTAs. All of them are united only by the fact that they belonged to the 3rd Guards Tank Army. A fragment from my search book I managed to find lists of locations of parts of the 3rd GTA: one of the units was located exactly in the place that we were interested in: it turned out that our troops simply did not distinguish all these villages east of Krems as separate settlements, for there was no Rohrendorf-by-Krems for them. For them, this place was listed as “a metallurgical plant area 1–1.5 km southeast of Kreims”.
In the course of work at the TsAMO of the Russian Federation, using the list of deployments of units of the 3rd Guards Tank Army, I suggested that Lopatin could serve in the 19th motor-engineering brigade. Let us compare the plan of arrangement of parts of the 19th motor-engineering brigade, redrawn by me, and the plan of the modern eastern outskirts of Krems and we will see: the same metallurgical plant is the modern Krems Chemie.
How did they find Fyodor Lopatin
For those who are more or less familiar with the search structure at the TsAMO of the Russian Federation, the question arises, why immediately it was impossible to request an officer card (CPC) of Fedor Lopatin? The reason is simple – we did not have and could not have any documents that showed the family relationship of the applicant – Monica Fritz and Fedor. As we recall, the same complexity was in the case of Lisa Balabanova. As early as 2014, the search engines of several forums singled out Fedor Fedorovich Lopatin 62 and the Feat of the People in the Winners database, but his birth date did not match – he was born on 07/18/1924. Monika Fritz, who independently tried to get information about Fedor Lopatin at TsAMO I couldn’t do this – she was refused under the same pretext: there is no evidence of kinship. It took dozens of contacts so that along with my profile in the hands of TsAMO employees could check the officer’s file. The task was complicated by the fact that in the officer cards F.F. Lopatin did not have his photograph. And nevertheless, it is F.F. Lopatin was selected as the most likely. Why? In the Lopatin card, the place of service of the 3rd Guards Tank Army was written in black and white. It is characteristic that in my guess about the specific Lopatin unit I was mistaken – he never served in units of the 19th brigade, but belonging to the 3rd GTA was correctly indicated. It is for this that the eye of archivists clung to. The last doubts were gone when it became clear: the 90th separate engineer tank regiment (later the battalion) was in Krems! 62 Base “Winners” – a Russian Internet project, a list of veterans who lived in Russia in 2005.
So it was established that F.F. Lopatin is the same father of Monica Fritz. Further – more, he was listed in the database of Moscow phones and telephone – he answered. I managed to talk with the granddaughter of Fedor Fedorovich, it turned out that Fedor Fedorovich is 92 years old and he is alive!!! It is in relatively good health and even does morning exercises. I could only transfer contacts. Now Monika Fritz and the Lopatin family have already established contact with each other, and we will think about what is the specificity of this search?
To begin with, over the F.F. Lopatin simply circled signs – and this is not only Monica’s request to TsAMO, but also the Red Cross’s request, which came directly to the Lopatin’s home in early 2015. Son F.F. Lopatina threw it away because he considered the letter a fraud and, I must say, this is a frequent reaction. Monica correctly remembered the profile of the part where Lopatin served, it was connected with the construction of bridges for tanks, but she was mistaken in the fact that letters arrived before 1950 (it was believed that later letters were thrown out by the Austrian husband Greta), in 1947 Lopatin was already in the USSR. The most amazing thing is that Fedor Fedorovich was really born in December, either by mistake or to get into an earlier appeal he was recorded for the summer of 1924, a common practice in those days! Fyodor Lopatin was born in the village of Kuzyaevskaya in the Krivandinsky (now Shatursky) district of the Moscow Region, his father Fyodor Ivanovich Lopatin for 1945-1947. was alive (mismatch with this) and lived in Kuzyaevskaya. Before being drafted into the Red Army, Lopatin graduated from the 3rd course of the Moscow Industrial College, after being drafted, he entered the Vinnytsia Infantry School in 1944. On arrival in Austria he is a lieutenant, he had combat experience, but not much – only a few months. There were awards, but to wear the medals “For the capture of Berlin”, “For the victory over Germany” among senior officers with their “For courage” and orders was considered bad form, which is why in the photographs he was without medals. (Coincidence with our assumptions) Fyodor Fyodorovich made a military career — he left the army only in 1972 as a colonel, having a solid track record behind him, including in operational and staff units. Perhaps this was what prevented him from contacting Monica and Greta – Austria was part of the Western world. The search “closed” only when two sources of information came together – an analytical profile in which the place of service of Lopatin (3 GTA) and his officer card were guessed. If there was only a profile, we would not have found Lopatin, if only the card or only the contact of the family of Fedor Fedorovich, no one would have sufficient confidence that it was he, and Lopatin himself, because of his age, did not immediately remember the story with Warmed. Only when the details of the card “laid down” on the results of long work – only then did I have the inner strength to convince the children and grandchildren of F.F. Lopatin, what exactly is he – the father of Monica Fritz.
Vitaliy Semenov (Air Force) 2009–2018
Good luck in finding.