The story behind our BPB14 Programme Guide cover image

Portrait by Agnieszka Rayss of Galina Ivanova Pagarelava

The cover image on BPB14’s Programme Guide is by Agnieszka Rayss of the collective Sputnik Photos. The portrait of Galina Ivanova Pagarelava is from the 2011 series I Reminisce and Cry for Life, a project about women veterans of World War Two in Belarus.

Working as a nurse, Galina Ivanova Pagarelava recalls:

“I got into the front-bound ambulance train. I was at the front, I collected the wounded and drove them to hospital. They were heavy, one had to carry them on one’s own back. When we took the wounded away we were often bombarded by the Germans. We had “death passports”, metal tags with our name and last name to identify us in case we were killed.

This is how the four years of war went by. I was at the Leningrad front, the Baltic front and the Karelian front all the way beyond the Arctic Circle. It was daylight all the time at the Arctic front. We wrote letters on the train – at night.

Belarus is my second homeland. I was born in the Ural, I have lived in Shchuchyn since 1954. I have no regrets. My son turned out great. I had an interesting life, I used to go to Moscow, to the sanatorium.”