RUSSIANS AT HOME
HUMOUR AND PATRIOTISM
Major Clarence G. Strippy, of the Army Chaplain Corps, went to Russia to minister to the United States Air Force men and found himself giving spiritual comfort to the Russians as well. He checked up one day and found he had given 3000 rosaries to Russian workers and
peasants. Major Strippy, pastor of the Hingham Baptist Church here when commissioned in 1942, was one of the first American chaplains in Russia. There was no Catholic chaplain sent along with him, so he went equipped to guide the religious activities of all groups. The large number of rosaries he distributed does not mean the Russians don't have their own priests and churches, the major explained. "I found no Government restrictions upon religion," he said. Much Like Americans Major Strippy, now on furlough, spent nine months in Russia and probably would still be there if he hadn't developed a kidney ailment and been invalided home.
In those nine months he saw a good deal of Russia because he was the sole American chaplain. His usual practice was to go by plane to the various American installations, spending three days at each base. He also sandwiched in some sight-seeing and once tried to visit Marshal Stalin at the Kremlin.
"They Avere very nice and polite to me at the Kremlin," he said. "They told me Stalin was out of town. I really believe that if he had been in I could have seen him."
The major speaks Russian now. He started to learn it as soon as he arrived in Russia, and found himself able to carry on an intelligible conversation in Russian in only two or three weeks. "The Russians seem more like Americans than any other people I have seen," the major says. "They have a great sense of humour, are quick to learn, and are a great home people.
Lovers of Home and Soil
"Above all, they are lovers of the soil. Just give them their soil and they are happy. The songs the Russian soldier sings on his way to the front are songs of the soil and of home. Of course, they have songs about their girls, but not so many."
There is at least one aspect of American life which amazes Russians, the major said. Since Stalin found easy divorce a poor thing for State reasons, Russian divorce laws are stiffer than those in America, and Russians now can't understand why divorces are so easily obtainable here.
They were equally baffled, the major said, when Lieut. Clothilda Govoni, an Army nurse and native of Brighton, became engaged to Lieut. William Kaluta, a Russianborn American who lived in New York, because Army regulations made the couple wait two months before the marriage ceremony. "The Russians wanted to rush the happy couple down to the church right away and have the wedding," the major said.—Auckland Star and N.A.N.A.
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RUSSIANS AT HOME, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945
RUSSIANS AT HOME Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945
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