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Toy soldiers and real battles: Vintage Red army soldiers from Durso Company

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Vintage Red army soldiers from Durso Company

Michel Klimov, a Latvian born sculptor founder and owner of The Durso Company (Liege Belgium 1938-1988), launched production of  Red Army Russian composition toy soldiers wearing their unique pointed caps (Budenovkas) in 1939. 
After the German occupation of Belgium in May 1940 and after Hitlers attack on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 , production of the Russian soldiers was prohibited. 
But  Klimov was able to continue production, as he wished, because he always had a “good answer” for the German authority  questions.
As the tide of the battle shifted against the Germans, Durso figures often were used to make political statements. For instance, Russian figures (which were originally allowed to be produced because Mr. Klimov indicated that they were representative of the war in Finland in 1939), soon became “symbols of freedom” for the Belgians. Durso flag bearers carrying the Soviet flag were openly displayed by Belgian students after the German defeat at Stalingrad.During this time, Belgian children were often seen playing with German toy soldiers whose heads had been broken off.
For this post I used materials from the article “Durso Composition Figures “The Medical Scene””
by Vincent J. Russo and Patrice Servais published in The Old Toy Soldier (Volume 28, Number 1, Spring 2004)

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