Vladimir Vasil'evich Lebedev
(Born St. Petersburg, 1891; died Leningrad, 1967)
Samuil Iakovlevich Marshak
(Born Voronezh, 1887; died Moscow, 1964)
The Order of the Oak (Leaves), TASS No. 0738, June 19, 1943
1348 x 1511 mm
After his flight from Tunisia, Field Marshal Rommel received from Hitler Germany’s highest military decoration—the so-called “Oak Leaves”—with swords and diamonds. General Messe, who commanded the Italian army in Africa and was taken prisoner, was promoted to Marshal of Italy.
(from newspaper reports)
What did he do to deserve the “Oak Leaves”
The German Fascist-General?
Was it by being roundly thrashed by the British
Recently in Tripoli?
Was it by running hundreds of miles
In the desert raising dust behind him?
Was it by escaping from Tunisia,
Leaving the army in captivity,
Just as rats run from a ship
Sinking to the bottom of the sea?
Could it be that Hitler
Presented Rommel with the Order of the Oak Leaves
In recognition of the way that Africa
Slapped his Field Marshal in the face?
And for this reason
Because no end is without cause,
Mussolini bestowed upon Signor Messe
His high rank?
For the African battle
This brave general
Was appointed Marshal of Italy
Though he was taken prisoner by the English.
And it’s a pity that the ancient Roman warrior
Did not know at the walls of Carthage
That the highest honors
Go to the man who surrenders his enemies.
So why delay further?
Deliver yourselves into captivity,
Sons of Italy!
Ne boltai! Collection, Obj: 204567