I have lived through many ages, through the eyes of salmon, deer, and wolf. I have seen the Northmen invading Ireland, destroying all in search of gold. I’ve seen suffering in the darkness. Yet I have seen beauty thrive in the most fragile of places. I have seen the book. The book that turned darkness into light.
Liudmyla Mykhailivna Pavlychenko (Ukrainian: Людмила Михайлівна Павличенко )
Born in Bila Tserkva on July 12, 1916, Pavlichenko moved to Kiev with her family at the age of fourteen. There she joined a DOSAAF shooting club and developed into an amateur sharpshooter, while working as a grinder at the Kiev Arsenal factory. In 1937, as a student of Kiev University she completed a masters degree in history, focusing on the life of Bohdan Khmelnytsky.
Her time with Eleanor Roosevelt clearly emboldened her, and by the time they reached Chicago on their way to the West Coast, Pavlichenko had been able to brush aside the “silly questions” from the women press correspondents about “nail polish and do I curl my hair.” By Chicago, she stood before large crowds, chiding the men to support the second front. “Gentlemen,” she said, “I am 25 years old and I have killed 309 fascist occupants by now. Don’t you think, gentlemen, that you have been hiding behind my back for too long?” Her words settled on the crowd, then caused a surging roar of support.