This Six-Year Old Soldier Fought in World War II

The real story of “the boy who lived.”

Sal
Lessons from History
5 min readMar 15, 2024

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Image Source: RBTH (No Known Copyright Restrictions)

In November of 1942, Major Mikhail Vorobyov’s 142 Guards Infantry Regiment was in a difficult position. They were cornered, facing heavy artillery shelling from the Germans. Scrambling for cover, his men did not notice when the Major got buried under heavy debris in a dugout, except for young Sergei.

Without hesitation, Sergei ran directly through the heavy bombardment to save the Major’s life. When he realized that the rubble was too heavy and he couldn’t lift it on his own, he called his comrades for help. Through his heroic actions, Mikhail was saved, albeit shell-shocked and wounded. That’s not all, though. “Young Sergei” wasn’t just the commander’s savior; he was also the youngest soldier on the battlefields of WWII at just seven years old.

Seryozha (short for Sergei) was from the village of Gryn in the Kaluga region, about 200 miles from Moscow. His father had passed away before the war. He was able to enjoy some of his childhood, living with his three elder brothers and mother in a beautiful forest.

In the summer of 1941, however, things took a turn for the worse. Adolph Hitler broke the peace treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union (the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact) and attacked his ally. Gryn was quite a…

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Sal
Lessons from History

I am a History Educator and a Lifelong Learner with a Masters in Global History.