Evacuation of Shostka enterprises


The evacuation of Shostka enterprises began when news came that the German command had changed its plans and Guderian’s 2nd Panzer Group was on the offensive in the south to destroy the Southwestern Front. A real threat arose of the German troops seizing the city. On August 19, 1941, the dismantling and dispatching of the equipment of Powder Plant No. 9 and Capsule Plant No. 53 began. This work was carried out under close control by the Ammunitions Commissar and the Soviet special services. This is evidenced in the NKVD cover note exhibited in the exposition. This document shows that Deputy Ammunitions Commissar Matvey Bushmelev was in Shostka at the time. Dismantling of the equipment of the main production lines of Plant No. 9 was completed in four days. «As of August 21, a total of 16 double train carriages with equipment and 6 carriages with finished products were sent from Plant #53. We have 6 more carriages with finished products. 50 carriages of equipment and 250 tons of finished products were sent from Plant #9».

The document also points to the downsides of this process. For example, plant directors Alexei Yakushev and Fala Tumarkin “began to first evacuate their families and families of the plant management and engineers. In order to do that, they used 15 train carriages.” And workers “began to drink alcohol at work” and refused to dismantle the equipment because they were not paid any salary.

The evacuation of the Shostka Film Factory lasted from August 21 to 26, 1941. The first echelon of equipment was sent on August 22, the next – on August 24, and the last – on August 26, just hours before the German troops entered the city. The main production facilities of the Capsule Plant were evacuated to Nizhny Lomov (now Penza region), the equipment of the film factory – to Krasnoyarsk, and equipment of the powder factory – to Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk and the village of Petr Dubrava (now Samara Region).