Life and Fate: Journey
By Vasily Grossman
Sofya, a Jewish doctor, is taken prisoner in Stalingrad and put on a cattle-truck going west to Poland. A German SS officer, Liss, oversees the building of the gas chambers and entertains Eichmann on an inspection tour. Liss is convinced that the Nazi and Soviet systems are more similar than their followers like to think.
Dramatised for radio by Mike Walker
Sofya Levinton ..... Sara Kestelman
Liss ..... Samuel West
Eichmann ..... John Sessions
Mostovskoy ..... Peter Marinker
David ..... Laurence Belcher
Musya ..... Christine Kavanagh
With Adeel Akhtar, Sean Baker, Sam Dale and Sally Orrock
Directed and Produced by Alison Hindell
Kenneth Branagh, Janet Suzman, David Tennant, Greta Scacchi, Samuel West, John Sessions and Harriet Walter star in this eight hour dramatisation of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. This epic saga takes over every drama strand on Radio 4 this week.
Set against the ferocious Battle of Stalingrad, Life and Fate is a sweeping historical tale that charts the fate of both a nation and a family in the turmoil of war and is increasingly hailed as the most important Russian novel of the 20th century. Its comparison of Stalinism with Nazism was considered by Soviet authorities to be so dangerous that the manuscript itself was arrested and Grossman was told that it would not be published for at least 200 years. He died in 1964, never knowing that his book would be smuggled to the West and eventually published in 1980.