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Perhaps the country would never have known about such a hero as Peter Klypa if the writer Sergei Smirnov had not decided to write a book about the defenders of the Brest Fortress. As it turned out, the 14-year-old teenager was not only one of the few who managed to survive, but also accomplished many feats and was captured. However, after the war, the young hero chose the criminal path, for which he received 25 years in prison. How did it happen that a young intelligence officer became a criminal?
Son of the regiment
Petya Klypa was born in 1926 (according to some sources, in 1927) in Bryansk. His father, who worked on the railroad, was soon gone. Therefore, the boy went to his elder brother Nikolai, who was a military man. He attached 11-year-old Peter to the music platoon of the 333rd Rifle Regiment, which he commanded. The brothers traveled around the country and in 1939 ended up in the Brest Fortress. However, Klypa Jr. was not interested in studies, he dreamed of becoming a military man, like Nikolai. But for now, it was only possible to dream about it: the strict brother and his colleagues insisted that the teenager attend lessons. On June 21, 1941, 14-year-old Petya was guilty once again: a friend from Brest called the boy to the stadium where sports competitions were held. Klypa, deciding that he could return in time, left the unit without permission. However, Nikolai was reported about his absence, who sent his restless little brother to serve his sentence in the fortress: to learn the next musical part. Here the war caught Peter: he woke up from the roar of exploding shells and saw that there were wounded and killed people lying around. Klyp himself was concussed, but he made a firm decision to defend the fortress. Of course, he was not a soldier, but he turned out to be a good scout: a small and nimble guy deftly hid from the Germans and played the role of a liaison between the units that were torn off from each other.
On the second day of the war, Petya and his comrade Kolya Novikov again went on reconnaissance and found an ammunition depot. This find was truly salutary: by that time, the participants in the defense were running out of ammunition. The young hero himself also took part in the battles, shooting at the Nazis with a pistol found in the same warehouse. In general, the fearlessness of the young hero can only be surprising. During another sortie, he found a destroyed medical unit and brought from there bandages and at least some medicine. In addition, the nimble teenager more than once went down to the river and brought water to the defenders who were tormented by thirst. It soon became clear that there was no point in further defending the fortress. Then the commander, realizing that this was the only way to escape, ordered the women and children to surrender. However, Klypa refused to go with them. With the remaining defenders, he made a desperate breakout attempt that failed. Only a few managed to get to the opposite bank of the river, including Peter. But here they were taken by the Germans. At the moment when the prisoners were walking across the river, a German cameraman decided to make a newsreel about the first victories of the Germans. And when the camera caught the face of the thin boy, he threatened with his fist directly into the lens. Petya Klypa turned out to be a daredevil who spoiled the "excellent" shots. The insolent man was severely beaten, and the rest of the way the prisoners carried him in their arms.
However, the young hero, together with Kolya Novikov and other defenders of the fortress, managed to escape from the camp in Poland and return to Brest. They lived here for more than a month, and in the fall of 1941 Petya, together with his friend Volodya Kozmin, decided to go to their own. However, they were again seized by the policemen, so Klypa was again captured and was already sent to Germany. Here he worked as a farm laborer for a local peasant until the Americans came to the village. For help in the capture of Nazi officers, the allies offered the hero to emigrate to America, but Peter did not agree and returned to his native Bryansk.
Post-war life and prison
Oddly enough, friendship failed Klypa. Petya found a school friend Leva Stotik, who, as it turned out, went down a crooked path: he was trading in robbery and speculation. Soon the defender of the Brest Fortress began to help his friend, while Stotik not only engaged in robbery, but also often used a knife and a pistol. Klypa did not interfere with him, but did not kill him himself, taking only a part of the loot for himself. However, soon, during another attack, Lev dealt with a former employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. But Peter did not inform about his friend. In 1949, the accomplices were nevertheless arrested and both were given 25 years in prison, and Klypa went to the Magadan region. For the war hero, this was a big blow, and he even tried to commit suicide by being left lying on the street in the cold. However, he was rescued, but Peter lost several toes due to frostbite.
Meanwhile, the writer Sergei Smirnov was collecting information about the defenders of the Brest Fortress. After all, almost nothing was known about this page of the Great Patriotic War for a long time. The front-line prose writer had already heard a lot about the exploits of Klypa, but he did not know how to find him. He was helped by his brother Petit Nikolay, who, as it turned out, did not die, but went through the whole war and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He said that he had long ago lost touch with his loved one, but gave the address of his sister, who lived in Moscow and should have known where Peter was, and she told the writer that the hero was serving a sentence in the camps. Smirnov wrote him a letter in which he asked to share his memories of the defense of the Brest Fortress. Klypa responded to this request, and, as it turned out, he remembered much more than his older comrades: the names of the defenders and commanders, important details of the defense and the scheme. Then Smirnov decided to use his authority to mitigate the sentence of the young defender of the fortress. He went to various instances and achieved his goal: Klypa was pardoned and his conviction was removed. He was released after serving 7 years. True, he was denied the right to rehabilitation: after all, he sat down to work.
Peter decided to quit his criminal past: he returned to his native Bryansk, got a job as a turner at a factory, got married, raised a son and daughter, was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War of the 1st degree. The hero traveled to Brest more than once and met with his surviving comrades. After the publication of the book "Brest Fortress" by Sergei Smirnov, the whole country learned about the defenders, who were among the first to take the blow from the Germans. And Pyotr Klypa became a real idol of the younger generation: pioneer squads were named after him, the hero was often called to events dedicated to the Great Patriotic War, and asked to talk about what he had to endure. But in 1983, Klypy died: at the age of 57, he died of cancer.
By the way, modern viewers also know about his exploits. It was Klypa who became the prototype for Sashka Akimov, one of the main characters of the film "Brest Fortress", filmed in 2010 by director Alexander Kott. Those who knew about Peter's criminal past preferred not to dwell on it. Everyone understood: the time was like that, and they had to survive by any means both in war and in peacetime. And a hero a priori cannot be a criminal.