Valeriy Shtrykov, R.I.P.

I had met Valeriy Shtrykov Oct. 2012 while being in Volgograd, the former Stalingrad, looking for the burial ground of one of my fallen uncles during the battle of Stalingrad at WW II. My guide and organizer Mike (Mikhail Shuvarikov) made connections with Valeriy, knowing that this guy had helped the Volksbund (German organisation for finding and excavating fallen and missed german soldiers during WW II) and that only this guy would find the place where my uncle Martin has been shot dead somewhere along the still existing rail road tracks,  west of Volgograd. That day we picked up Valeriy at his house and he showed me all the stuff he had collected during the years he was digging and searching missing soldiers (he has also worked for a lots of other organizations and governments). We instantly became friends and on the way out to the fields/steppe, he drew me a sketch of the former burying grounds which were made during the war/fights and where soldiers only had been thrown in and left there with no trace. Valeriy knew all those places and we have spent the day out there in the steppe, digging and looking for relics of the war. I owe him that much for showing me that place, I can´t be  thankful ever enough. Early May, he got murdered by his own uncle in his house, for reasons unknown. Rest in peace, Valeriy, I´m very glad I have met you!!

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Valeriy in front of his house, Volgograd…

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The sketch Valeriy was drawing for me…

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Finding the way through the steppe…

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Let´s go searching…

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Valeriy and me with a piece of a human coccyx we just found…

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A piece of a human cranium and Valeriy´s tattooed hand…

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Valeriy along the rail road tracks…

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Me, Valeriy, Sergey and Mike, out in the steppe…

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Valeriy was digging everywhere, even if the sign says: “No Digging!”…

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