“The air is red, the ground is shaking, you desperately want to live...”

Arthur Bondar
Small photo along with a big story from a veteran
For more than five years, photographer Arthur Bondar has been taking portraits of World War II veterans from Russia and Ukraine on Polaroid film in a series called “Signatures of War”. After taking each picture, Bondar asks the veteran to sign the image. / Velder Nikolay Grigoryevich (left), mortar troop. Bardyukov Vasiliy Yakovlevich (right).
"I went to the war when I was 18. In one of the fights, I was heavenly injured. When I was back from the hospital, everyone around was new; no one was alive among those whom I knew before. During the shooting, I wanted to live so much. I was always hiding the main thing – my head. No one was helping us. The weapons [we had] were awful or there were no weapons at all. The air is red, the ground is shaking, and you desperately want to live." - Vladimir Mikhailovich Burtsev (left), Assault Battalion / Boris Kharitonovich Kanelskikh (right), 295th Artillery Division.
During the occupation of her village by German troops, Arthur Bondar's grandmother, Galina Kondratievna Bondar (right) worked the fields, plowing them with horses and cows. / Maria Vailevna Ulisskaya (left), 1st Ukrainian Fleet.
"During the war, I was working on a combine far from the frontlines; my husband and children went to war… They didn’t come back." Antonina Gavrilovna Meteleva (left), Worker on the home front. / Mikhail Vladimirovich Serduk (right), The Black Sea Fleet.
"During the Sevastopol assault, I ran out of ammunition, so I liberated the city with a sapper shovel." - Vsevolod Radionovich Musiyko (left), First Ukranian Fleet / Lyudmila Ivanovna Chernova (right), North Caucasus front.
"Despite seven injuries and a contusion, I did everything that I wanted to: I reached Berlin and put my signature on the Reichstag." – Vasily Ivanovich Kokhan (left), infantry / Teodor Grigoryevich Dyachyun (right), Ukrainian insurgent army.
"It was hard. We used to live in trenches. Thank God, I have a bad memory and forgot almost everything. I was a gunner for 40mm artillery. During that time, we knocked down 5 bombers." -  Pyotr Antonovich Kotlovoy (right), anti-aircraft regiment. / Maria Efimovna Shkura and Galina Efimovna Shkura (left), Workers on the home front
"I remember us falling in before abandoning submarine. We couldn’t even see the coast. The anchor was not holding. I have remembered my whole life how we appeared in a minefield in sea." - Ivan Alekseevich Kostin (left), Navy / Nikolay Dmitrovich Doronin (right), 2nd Belorussian Fleet.
"At the beginning, it was hard; one rifle for 2 or 3 soldiers. But the Soviet Army was good, strong. Everyone was so harmonious. My brightest impression was, of course, the Victory... (looking at Polaroid photo become apparent) – So nice. This will be my second photo since the war." -  Nikolay Ostapovic Stanishevsky (right). / Igor Gavrilovich Kissel (left), 2nd Baltic Fleet.
"I remember the soldiers that I blessed before sending them to war. It was hard…" - Roman Valerievich Kosovsky (left), First Ukranian Fleet / Nikolay Grigoryevich Pasko(right), infantry.
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