Employees of the Soviet War Foundation have been able to identify the identity of a body located on the Soviet War Field in Leusden. The woman buried under the name Katerina Zokolowa was actually named Yekaterina Karpovna Tsokalo. She came from the Ukrainian town of Doebrovka, not far from Kiev, and died in the Netherlands at the age of 21 in September 1945.
Remco Reiding of the Soviet War Foundation says that the spelling of the names on the tombstones has gone a lot wrong. 43 percent of the 865 graves certainly made one writing error. He has made it his lifes work to identify as many bodies as possible of who they were and, if possible, to inform surviving survivors.
same is the case with Yekaterina Karpovna Tsokalo. The tip that the Z should be read as Ts in the last name was the initiation of an investigation. A “trail of documents” led Reiding to the real identity of the woman in grave 815.
After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Tsokalo was transported to Germany as a forced worker. She ended up at the Krupp factory in Rheinhausen, near Duisburg, where she had to do heavy work with thousands of other Ostarbeiter under terrible conditions.
In the chaos at the end of the war, she ended up in the Netherlands, first in Limburg and eventually Leeuwarden. Thats what she made the liberation. Russian girls stood out and some were interviewed by the Leeuwarder Courier in June 1945. According to the foundation, Tsokalo was presumably there.
She would no longer return to her family and the Soviet Union. She had left pulmonary tuberculosis from the poor living and working conditions during forced labor. She died on September 23, 1945 at the Saint Boniface Hospital in Leeuwarden. In May 1948, her body was transferred from a cemetery in Huizum to the Soviet Warfield in Leusden.
After the true identity was obsolete, a Ukrainian foundation employee traced and informed her family. He never knew Tsokalo had ended up in the Netherlands and died. Siblings didnt have them. A niece who never knew her broke into tears immediately when she finally knew what happened to Tsokalo and where she was buried.