mp3 of documentary available here

You can listen to Lucy Ash’s BBC documentary, “Night Witches,” here:

The section about Yegorova’s life occurs near the end, from around 15:20 to 19:20. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Ash: …But her luck ran out in August 1944, when she was shot down near Warsaw. She suffered horrific burns and a smashed pelvis.

Yegorova (translator): The most dreadful thing was to open my eyes and see Germans in front of me. That’s when I was really scared. We’d always heard those horror stories about how brutally the German soldiers treated our people.

Ash: Anna spent 5 months in a Nazi concentration camp. Very little was done to treat her injuries, and she barely survived.

Yegorova: So many years have passed, and I try to forget unpleasant moments. But no. They keep creeping back into my head.

Ash: More harrowing still was her treatment afterwards, at the hands of the Red Army’s counterintelligence unit. It was called the SMERSH–an acronym of Smert Shpionam, or “death to spies.” And its job was to root out saboteurs, traitors, and mutineers in the armed forces. Anna can barely bring herself to talk about what happened when a Soviet tank brigade came to liberate prisoners in the Nazi camp.

Yegorova: There was so much joy at first. Hurrah! We are free at last. And then, suddenly, the SMERSH got hold of me.

They swore at me, said I was the scum of the earth, that I switched sides and joined the Germans…They treated me like an animal and called me a Fascist bitch… After the SMERSH tortured me, something within me died. God save anyone from such treatment…


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