Flying with the Enemy


Oleg Okshevsky was born a son of a Russian Tsarist cavalry officer in 1915, in Yevpatoriya, Russia. Because of the Russian Revolution he was raised in Serbia and went to school at a Russian Cadet Academy. He later became a bomber pilot in the Royal Yugoslavian Air Force. 

When war broke out and Germany invaded Yugoslavia, Nazis told Serbians to walk to concentration camps, while the Croatians sympathized and gave in to Hitler. Oleg refused to walk to any sort of camp. He hid out hoping to meet a sub with other Serbian pilots leaving for North Africa to join American and British pilots to fight the Nazis. He literally missed the boat and now became stuck, surrounded by Germans. 

Oleg and his brother decided to pretend they were with the Croatians in order to get their hands on a plane and join the allies in Africa to fight the Nazis. After much training in Germany and the brothers miraculously still together, they ended up in the same plane with orders to fly not west but east! They were stunned, not knowing what to do next. They were hoping on a mission anywhere but east. 

Still naïve in their mid-20s, and not understanding yet the full extent of Communism back then, they thought they would make the best of it and fly to Russia. After all, the Soviets were allies – right? The bombing mission they were on flies in formation with other bombers to the Eastern Front. With great skill and risk, pilot Oleg banks his plane away from the rest of the formation and dramatically changes course heading into Soviet territory in a German plane. He flew for some time while being shot at by both Germans and Soviets and finally landed in a potato field on the outskirts of a Russian village. Villagers were shocked that a German bomber now sat in their village. Oleg explained everything to them until the KGB showed up. The KGB took them to the infamous Lubyanka prison in Moscow where they were interrogated. Oleg and Lev forgot how much danger they were still in. 


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