Anfilogi Fabrichnikov (1907-1978)


This short documentary is based on the memoirs of Anfilogi Fabrichnikov (1907–1978), written in the early 1960s. Anfilogi was from an Old Believers’ family that moved to Tallinn in the early 1920s. When he came of age, he served in the military at the Kuperjanov Battalion and later held various jobs in the capital. When the war between Germany and the Soviet Union broke out, Fabrichnikov worked at the Kunstsarve Tehased, from where he was mobilised to the Red Army in July 1941.

In his memoirs, he talks about his journey from Tallinn’s hippodrome, where the assembly of the mobilised took place in July and August 1941, to Komi ASSR, where he witnessed the death of several thousand mobilised persons from Estonia due to the inhumane living conditions in the labour columns.

In February 1942, the Red Army’s Estonian rifle corps were formed in Chebarkul of the men that were still alive. They were sent to the front in Velikiye Luki in the winter of the same year. Anfilogi was among the 1,200 mobilised people from Estonia that defected to the German side on 21 to 23 December.

What followed was life as a prisoner of war in Polotsk and Viljandi, from where the detainees were gradually released in spring 1943. The German occupying regime’s prerequisite for the release was joining the German armed forces. Just like other men, Anfilogi tried to avoid this obligation by whatever means necessary. He managed to fake an illness and was not taken to the foreign army this time.

After Estonia was conquered by the Red Army in autumn 1944, the Soviet regime convicted him of “treason”, referencing the events of December 1942. Anfilogi was sent to the Gulag prison camp for ten years, from where he was not freed until August 1954.

The short documentary focuses on a small part of his memoir (original and edited version), covering a period from November 1942 to December 1944. Anfilogi’s memoirs are notable for honesty and precision in describing the events, the living conditions, and the emotions. The main theme is longing for the homeland, Estonia, and contempt towards the two regimes that had destroyed his life.