Those die-hard football enthusiasts who eagerly watch all the live coverage of UEFA Champions League matches, often by spending sleepless nights, are aware of a Ukrainian football team Dynamo Kiev, which hails from Kiev, the capital city of the country. But only few of them know about the striking history of the club and what happened to the players after they won a match convincingly against German Army Football Team when Nazis invaded the country during the Second World War.
Those Early days of Dynamo Kiev (Before Nazi Invasion)
This Kiev based club was founded in the year 1927 as an amateur team as a part of Dinamo, a nation wide Soviet Sports Society and later it became officially funded and sponsored by NKVD which was a Soviet Secret Agency. During the 1930’s, Ukraine suffered terribly under the leadership of Stalin as he always feared a possibility of Ukrainian breakaway from the Soviet Union Empire. So, a special attention was given to suppress any possible nationalist movement which made the lives of thousands and thousands of inhabitants of Ukraine miserable. Each and every city was taken over by Soviet Secret Police and they used to look at every movement made by any citizen from a suspicious point of view. Innocent citizens were arrested, deported and often shot dead by them for committing mistakes which were as simple as arriving late at work or talking to the foreigners or for quarrelling with neighbours etc. Even Ukrainian Government Officials and Police men were not spared from this hellish act. Moreover, Stalin’s repressive Farming policy shattered the Ukrainian economy and led to a great famine for which 14 million Ukrainians lost their lives. So an atmosphere of fear, hatred and terror loomed large during those days and there was no ray of hope for the Ukrainians.
Football was like a breeze of fresh air in those days of uncertainties and insecurities. At that time, Football was very much popular a sporting activity in all over Soviet Union and it was easy for a citizen to book a football match ticket and to be engrossed with all the thrills and happenings of the match and to enjoy it’s every possible moment. For them, it was like a temporary relief from a very tense situation, from the constant fear of deportation or execution. Then, the most popular clubs of Soviet Union were Dynamo Moscow and Spartak Moscow, two clubs from Moscow and in the field of Football, Ukrainians had something to cheer about – the achievements of Dynamo Kiev. Those fiercely contested matches played between Dynamo Kiev and those two clubs from Moscow were followed by a huge number of supporters and often they defeated the Moscow Clubs to win the Soviet Championship and also to break the Moscow Dominance in the football field. The matches played by Dynamo Kiev were not just mere games but they also involved National Pride. This club is often regarded as unofficial Ukrainian National Team by the Ukrainian Government and the team was funded by the Government. It participated in the first “Soviet Championship” played in 1936 and became second after fighting hard with all the tough opponents. In 1937 and 1938, they finished the championship in 3rd and 4th place respectively and in their 1938 they scored a record 76 goals which is quite an achievement considering the hardship they suffered and tough situation they endured. However they did not perform to their potential in the next two seasons (1939, 1940) and in the next season (1941) they were playing well as a unit till the 4th game but after that Nazi army invaded the whole Soviet Union on 22nd June, 1941.
Dynamo Kiev during Nazi Invasion 스포츠중계
When the Soviet Union’s Red Army lost in the battle with the Nazi’s then some of the Dynamo Kiev players registered themselves in the army and were sent to the battlefield to fight for the country and rescue their land from foreign invasion. After 3 months of horrible bloodshed finally Nazis gained the full control over the city of Kiev. Those Dynamo players who were in the army were captured as “Prisoner of War” and sent to the Prison Camps. The Prison Camps were short of food and water and all the prisoners were forced to live in a very short enclosure earmarked by barbed wire fencing. After Kiev fell to the Germans, it witnessed a horrible scenario of devastation, death and destruction over a period of 1 year (which included the murder of 33,771 Jewish men, women and children in just 2 days, 29th and 30th September and by the end of 1941 over 100000 Ukrainians died either shot by the Nazi army or died of starvation). But some of Dynamo Kiev players were fortunate to be released from the prison camps and then they came back to the Kiev city in search of a job. From there onwards, Dynamo’s story again started with a positive note.
Bakery Number 3
Iosif Kordik, a die-hard fan of Dynamo Kiev, was the manager of the huge Bakery Number 3, in Kiev when Nikolai Trusevich, the tall goalkeeper of the team came back to the city looking for a job and offered him a sweeper’ s job in the shop. Those days those who were released from prison camps were not given any work permit to work or to live in an apartment. So indeed offering any job to Nikolai was an illegal activity but Iosif, the manager had something else in his mind. This enthusiastic soccer-fan dreamt of constructing a strong Bakery Football Team and gave the responsibility of finding quality football players and his former teammates to Nikolai. The ever enthusiastic goalie, began his search for former teammates by walking through the lanes of Kiev and then slowly one by one, he was able to find nine of his former Dynamo Kiev teammates (they were Nikolai Korotkykh, Mikhail Svyridovskiy, Mykola Korotkykh, Oleksiy Kilimenko, Fedir Tyutchev, Mikhail Putistin, Ivan Kuzmenko, Makar Goncharenko, Makar Honcharenko) and also some of the players of Lokomotiv Kiev (Vladimir Balakin, Vasil Sukharev and Mikhail Melnyk). So in the next few weeks, in those days of insecurity, all the contacted players slowly moved to the Bakery Number 3 where they got much needed food, shelter as well as job. From then onwards, all those players working in the bakery, some of whom were suffering from malnutrition, started to train though they were tired of 24 hour shift and started to believe that they have the potential to be a powerful team. The tall and skillful goalie Nikolai gave their brave unit a name “Football Club Start (F.C Start)” as participation in football and getting job, shelter in the Bakery Number 3 gave them a new life which was previously guided mainly by terror, fear and confusion.
The Journey of F.C Start
They first played a match in the local league run by Georgi Shvetsov, a former footballer and sports instructor and Start’s first opponents were Rukh, Shvetsov’s own team. They convincingly won that particular match by a margin of 7-2 though they haven’t got a proper shoes as well as football jerseys. Shvetsov became very much embarrassed and went to the German authority and asked them to ban F.C Start from training at Rukh’s Stadium. Without the training facilities, they still won all the matches by huge margins.
They beat the Hungarian Garrison by 6-2 on 21st June 1942, Romanian Garrison by a huge margin of 11-0 on 5th July. This winning sequence boosted the morale of all the Ukrainians, who were morally low and dejected for all what happened to them. They used to turn up at large numbers to see their favourite team mercilessly crushing the other teams coming from the regiments of ruling power.