Monday, February 20, 2006

Aslan Tsitaishvili, Georgian lithographer

The following is taken from New Images, a blog by a German in Tbilisi:

Aslan Tsitaishvili from Tbilisi [is] a great lithography master, wonderful teacher and thrilling story-teller, despite his age of 83 years he can be found working every day in his studio...

[Right: Caucasian shepherd litho by Aslan Tsitaishvili]

Aslan told me this story of one day at the Battle of Kursk.

One day in the summer 1943 his platoon found an shortly abandoned position of a German unit in a dry river bed with high shores on each sides, where had been digged caves for hiding inside. The pretty hungry Soviet soldiers found cans of superb German army food in this caves, like bread wrapped in blue color plastic, butter in cans, Cognac and other. The remains of the German campfires had been still hot. The soldiers made their rest, stove the fires and had some good time. Aslan had been a little away, above the shore, when two visibly unarmed bold German soldiers walked straight to the sitting Soviets. The first was an Officer, hiding his right hand in his pocket. When coming close to the astonished Soviet soldiers, this Officer threw over a hand grenade in the middle of the circle of sitting soldiers, wich blew up and wounded them severely. The Germans ran away, while Aslan took his gun up and aimed at them, it could had been an easy shot, as he was pretty close and a very good shooter from his childhood. But he didn't pull the trigger and the two Germans made their way up the shore into a field of rye and escaped. He said, he is very happy until today, that he didn't shoot, and that none of his officers noticed his chance to shoot. The whole war was not worth a single man's death, was his summary.

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