In 1941 Moscow, Chinese boy felt effects of Nazi invasion

Updated: 2015-05-07 07:42

By Zhao Xu (China Daily)

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Life in Russia - or the former Soviet Union, to be precise - represented Li Shuhua's entire childhood. And the 79-year-old vividly remembers the day when news broke on June 22, 1941, that Nazi Germany had attacked the Soviets.

"My whole family was in Moscow - my parents, my younger brother and me. My mother was about to take me to the park when the shocking news hit everyone through the radio waves," he said. "I remember Dad said to us: 'Don't go anywhere'.

On Tuesday afternoon, Li, who left his adopted home only after the founding of the People's Republic of China, shared stories of his youth with the media during a conference in a downtown Beijing hotel.

Co-hosted by and Rossiya Segodnya, a Moscow-based news agency, the event brought veterans and their descendants together with historians, researchers and military strategists, in an effort to paint a picture of the Sino-Russia cooperation and exchanges during World War II.

"In 1942, I was 5 and had no idea what a war was. But then I lived it, and lived through it," he said. "Never getting to fight on the front line didn't make me a witness to the war. I was every bit a participant, and the full effect of the war is still sinking into me, even at this age."

In the mid-1930s, Li's parents went to the Soviet Union. The family moved to Moscow in 1939, three years after Li's birth. His father, a Communist, worked at a Russian radio station broadcasting to China and the rest of East Asia.

"At one time, the Germans were looming on the doorstep of Moscow. My father continued his broadcasting," he said. "The Germans never turned up, thanks to the soldiers who made unbelievable sacrifices."

"For those who were injured, we children were organized to perform for them," he continued. "And for doing this, the Russian government today gives me the medal," he said with a grin.