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The Black Book

Historian Catherine Merridale chronicles the tortuous journey of Vasily Grossman’s novel STALINGRAD to print. Victory over the Nazi’s brought neither freedom or truth.

Historian Catherine Merridale chronicles the tortuous passage of Vasily Grossman’s novel STALINGRAD to print.

Even before Grossman began to prepare his novel STALINGRAD for publication it became clear that victory over the Nazi’s would not bring any hard won freedoms or historical truth. Grossman, in his role as a front line Soviet journalist, had documented Nazi atrocities including the workings of the death camp of Treblinka. His mother had been murdered in his Ukrainian home town of Berdichev.

As the war had progressed he had assumed editorship of The Black Book-a vast and harrowing collection of first hand accounts of Nazi genocide on Soviet soil. Grossman himself wrote the stark chapter on the murder of the Jews of Berdichev. It would never see publication until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Closed down on Stalin’s orders it was the first intimation of a new campaign of repression & terror

Reader: Anton Lesser
Producer: Mark Burman

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14 minutes

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Life and Fate

Life and Fate

Vasily Grossman's sweeping historical tale set against the ferocious Battle of Stalingrad.