MINSK, 21 April (BelTA) – Piotr Kotelnikov, a veteran of the Great Patriotic War and the last surviving defender of the Brest Fortress, died of cancer in Moscow at 92, BelTA learned from the Ren-TV channel.
Piotr Kotelnikov was born in Penza Oblast in 1929. Having lost his parents at an early age, the boy ended up in an orphanage in Rostov Oblast, where he learned to play the viola. In 1940, along with four other children from the orphanage, Piotr Kotelnikov was sent to study at the music platoon of the 44th rifle regiment.
On the last peaceful day before the war broke out, the young musicians had a rehearsal at the North Gate of the Brest Fortress. After the attack started, Piotr Kotelnikov helped the wounded, bringing them food, water, and ammunition. On 29 June, a group of soldiers decided to break through the enemy lines, taking the young boys with them.
After that, Piotr Kotelnikov got into a war prisoner camp in Biala Podlaska. What followed was a failed escape attempt, imprisonment, hunger, beatings, and humiliation, and, finally, the escape. Then he and his comrades made their way to the village of Saki in Zhabinka District, where they helped locals in exchange for food and clothes. All their attempts to get to the frontline failed.
After the war, Piotr Kotelnikov decided to serve in the army. He took part in the fighting in Ethiopia and served in the Western Group of Forces in Germany. Piotr Kotelnikov was awarded many orders and medals.