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On Bikes and Nazis in Kremenets

April 5, 2010

Recently I’ve been reading through an amazing journal a 16-year-old boy from Kremenets, Ukraine wrote during the Nazi occupation of Ukraine. I found it two years ago in Moscow archives. Rarely does one find such a neatly organized and complete source such as a 100+ page, typed diary like this.

(Credit: Author (c))

Most of what I read about the occupation in Russian archives comes from adults, often times women, about their awful experiences. Getting to see the perspective from the sarcastic, restless 16-year-old type is quite interesting and even fun at times. In this passage below, one of the lighter ones from the diary, he is quite dismayed at the fact he’ll loss the autonomy of having his own bicycle. Note the heavy sarcasm:

Now I’m dealing with an even more serious matter– I lost my bike thanks to the kindness of pan gebietskommissar [the head local German official]. In yesterday’s  newspaper there was an announcement about the registration of bikes. Our town is ever so thankful for the amicable relationship with our favorite rulers…The bikes are now located at station E, where they all sit together out in the open…At the station, the owners of the bikes are given a slip, so they are then allowed to ride the bikes home. This is apparently called ‘establishing a relationship of trust with the population.’ Alas, bike registration has begun…

If there had only been a “Kremenets Bike Coalition” to look out for the rights of bike owners, like say the one we have in San Francisco. Damn Nazis…

5 Comments leave one →
  1. michael sicurello permalink
    April 6, 2010 11:34 am

    The bicycle Nazis are still around.. they are bureaucrats who want to license (TAX/CONTROL) bikes…

    It will cost more than the program makes to tax bikes..

    Plus its just wrong morally.

    • April 6, 2010 12:03 pm

      Right on. I heard they were talking about doing it in Philadelphia after a cyclist killed someone. Sort of an odd measure to take as a reaction since when a car kills a cyclist it’s not as if drastic measures are taken to improve cyclists’ safety.


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