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Ivan Vasilyevich Turkenich (Russian: Иван Васильевич Туркенич) (January 15, 1920 – August 14, 1944) was a Ukrainian partisan, one of the leaders of the underground anti-Nazi organization the Young Guard, which operated in Krasnodon district during the German-Soviet War between 1941 and 1944.
Turkenich was born on January 15, 1920 in Novyi Liman, Voronezh Oblast in a family of Ukrainian ethnicity. His father was a miner. After graduation from the 7th grade Ivan was matriculated to Voroshilov pedagogical institute. In March 1938 he became a member of the Komsomol (Комсомол). In 1938 Ivan studied in Sevastopol railroad trade school. In 1940 he began his studies in anti-aircraft artillery military academy.
In June 1941, Turkenich graduated from the academy and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Red Army. From May to June 1942 he was a deputy executive officer (помощник начальника штаба) in the 614th anti-tank artillery regiment. In one of its engagements he was captured by Germans, escaped from imprisonment and joined the anti-Nazi resistance in occupied Krasnodon (Краснодон). He became one of the leaders of the Young Guard (Молодой Гвардия) – Komsomol resistance organization. In June 1944 Turkenich became a member of the Communist Party.
When the Young Guard was compromised and most of its members arrested by Nazis, Ivan Turkenich managed to escape. He crossed the front lines and rejoined the uniformed Red Army. He was promoted to command a mortar battery in the 163rd regiment. On August 13, 1944 Ivan Turkenich was mortally wounded in a battle near Głogów, Poland. He died in the field hospital a day later on August 14, 1944.
For his leadership and bravery Ivan Turkevich was awarded the Order of Red Banner, the Medal "Partisan of the Patriotic War" (1st class), and the Order of the Patriotic War (1st class). In 1990 Ivan Turkevich was also awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
- (Russian) Иван Васильoвич Туркенич at www.peoples.ru