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By Lyuba Vinogradova. 2017
"Lyuba Vinogradova is a historian with a writer's dramatic eye. By personally interviewing many of the Russian women who as…teenagers during WW2 took up arms to defend the motherland, her story becomes undeniably poignant and powerful" MARTIN CRUZ SMITH, author of Gorky ParkThe girls came from every corner of the U.S.S.R. They were factory workers, domestic servants, teachers and clerks, and few were older than twenty. Though many had led hard lives before the war, nothing could have prepared them for the brutal facts of their new existence: with their country on its knees, and millions of its men already dead, grievously wounded or in captivity, from 1942 onwards thousands of Soviet women were trained as snipers.Thrown into the midst of some of the fiercest fighting of the Second World War they would soon learn what it was like to spend hour upon hour hunting German soldiers in the bleak expanses of no-man's-land; they would become familiar with the awful power that comes with taking another person's life; and in turn they would discover how it feels to see your closest friends torn away from you by an enemy shell or bullet.In a narrative that travels from the sinister catacombs beneath the Kerch Peninsula to Byelorussia's primeval forests and, finally, to the smoking ruins of the Third Reich, Lyuba Vinogradova recounts the untold stories of these brave young women. Drawing on diaries, letters and interviews with survivors, as well as previously unpublished material from the military archives, she offers a moving and unforgettable record of their experiences: the rigorous training, the squalid living quarters, the blood and chaos of the Eastern Front, and those moments of laughter and happiness that occasionally allowed the girls to forget, for a second or two, their horrifying circumstances. Avenging Angels is a masterful account of an all-too-often overlooked chapter of history, and an unparalleled account of these women's lives.Translated from the Russian by Arch Tait
By Sacha Batthyány. 2017
A memoir of brutality, heroism and personal discovery from Europe's dark heart, revealing one of the most extraordinary untold stories…of the Second World WarIn the spring of 1945, at Rechnitz on the Austrian-Hungarian border, not far from the front lines of the advancing Red Army, Countess Margit Batthyany gave a party in her mansion. The war was almost over, and the German aristocrats and SS officers dancing and drinking knew it was lost. Late that night, they walked down to the village, where 180 enslaved Jewish labourers waited, made them strip naked, and shot them all, before returning to the bright lights of the party. It remained a secret for decades, until Sacha Batthyany, who remembered his great-aunt Margit only vaguely from his childhood as a stern, distant woman, began to ask questions about it.A Crime in the Family is Sacha Batthyany's memoir of confronting these questions, and of the answers he found. It is one of the last untold stories of Europe's nightmare century, spanning not just the massacre at Rechnitz, the inhumanity of Auschwitz, the chaos of wartime Budapest and the brutalities of Soviet occupation and Stalin's gulags, but also the silent crimes of complicity and cover-up, and the damaged generations they leave behind. Told partly through the surviving journals of others from the author's family and the vanished world of Rechnitz, A Crime in the Family is a moving and revelatory memoir in the vein of The Hare with the Amber Eyes and The House by the Lake. It uncovers barbarity and tragedy but also a measure of peace and reconciliation. Ultimately, Batthyany discovers that although his inheritance might be that of monsters, he does not bear it alone.
By Stuart Tootal, Captain David Render. 2016
A gripping account of the Second World War, from the perspective of a young tank commander.In 1944, David Render was…a nineteen-year-old second lieutenant fresh from Sandhurst when he was sent to France. Joining the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry five days after the D-Day landings, the combat-hardened men he was sent to command did not expect him to last long. However, in the following weeks of ferocious fighting in which more than 90 per cent of his fellow tank commanders became casualties, his ability to emerge unscathed from countless combat engagements earned him the nickname of the 'Inevitable Mr Render'.In Tank Action Render tells his remarkable story, spanning every major episode of the last year of the Second World War from the invasion of Normandy to the fall of Germany. Ultimately it is a story of survival, comradeship and the ability to stand up and be counted as a leader in combat.
By Damien Lewis. 2016
'You couldn't make these stories up: yet they're true, and Lewis does the memory of these extraordinary men full justice…in a tale that is both heart-stopping and moving' Evening Standard'Suicidal bravery, untold moral courage and awe-inspiring survival. An utterly compelling read' Bear GryllsFrom the bestselling author of true military classics ZERO SIX BRAVO, THE NAZI HUNTERS and CHURCHILL'S SECRET WARRIORSIn the Spring of 1940, as Britain reeled from defeats on all fronts and America seemed frozen in isolation, one fear united the British and American leaders like no other: the Nazis had stolen a march on the Allies towards building the atomic bomb. So began the hunt for Hitler's nuclear weapons - nothing else came close in terms of priorities. It was to be the most secret war of those wars fought amongst the shadows. The highest stakes. The greatest odds.Prior to the outbreak of the war the massive German chemicals conglomerate I.G. Farben - the future manufacturers of Zyklon-B, the gas used in the Nazi concentration camps - had started producing bulk supplies of deuterium oxide - heavy water - at the remote Norwegian plant of Vemork. This was the central target of three separate missions - Operations GROUSE, FRESHMAN and GUNNERSIDE - over the ensuing four years. As Churchill commented: 'The actual facts in many cases were equal to the most fantastic inventions of romance and melodrama. Tangle with tangle, plot and counter-plot, ruse and treachery, cross and double-cross, true agent, false agent, double agent, gold and steel, the bomb, the dagger and the firing party were interwoven in a texture so intricate as to be incredible yet true.'Damien Lewis's new bestseller intercuts the hunt for the scientists, the raw materials and the plant, with the cloak and dagger intelligence game being played in the shadows. This relied in part on ENIGMA intercepts to guide the SOE's hand. Lewis delves into some of the most extraordinarily inventive and Machiavellian innovations at the SOE, and their related research and training schools, whereby the enemy were tricked, deceived, framed, blackmailed and double and triple-crossed, all in the name of stopping the Reich from getting the bomb.Previously published as Hunting Hitler's Nukes
By Ida Simons. 2014
It is the middle of the roaring twenties, and Gittel is living The Hague with her parents, whose blazing rows…are the traditional preserve of Sundays and public holidays. What luck, then, that Gittel is Jewish, and must submit to "the double helping of public holidays that is the lot of Jewish families".After every matrimonial slanging match, Gittel's mother runs off to her parents' home in Antwerp - with her daugher in tow. Much to her delight, Gittel makes the acquaintance of the well-to-do Mardell family, who allow her to practise on their Steinway. Gittel feels that she is taken seriously by Mr Mardell, the head of the household, and by thirty-year-old Lucie, whom she adores. When these friendships turn out to be nothing but an illusion, Gittel learns her first lessons about trust and betrayal. Her second comes soon after, when her father, whose talents for business leave much to be desired, attempts to make a quick killing in Berlin on the eve of the Wall Street Crash.Though this intimate portrayal of familial strife is set in the shadow of the Holocaust, Simons says little about the horror that awaits her characters, yet she succeeds in giving the reader the sense that the novel is about more than a young girl's loss of innocence. In a fluid, almost casual style, she has written a masterly and timeless ode to a relatively carefree interlude in a dark and dramatic period.Translated from the Dutch by Liz Waters
By Anne Sebba. 2016
WINNER OF THE FRANCO-BRITISH SOCIETY BOOK PRIZE 2016June, 1940. German troops enter Paris and hoist the swastika over the Arc…de Triomphe. The dark days of Occupation begin. How would you have survived? By collaborating with the Nazis, or risking the lives of you and your loved ones to resist? The women of Paris faced this dilemma every day - whether choosing between rations and the black market, or travelling on the Metro, where a German soldier had priority for a seat. Between the extremes of defiance and collusion was a vast moral grey area which all Parisiennes had to navigate in order to survive.Anne Sebba has sought out and interviewed scores of women, and brings us their unforgettable testimonies. Her fascinating cast includes both native Parisiennes and temporary residents: American women and Nazi wives; spies, mothers, mistresses, artists, fashion designers and aristocrats. The result is an enthralling account of life during the Second World War and in the years of recovery and recrimination that followed the Liberation of Paris in 1944. It is a story of fear, deprivation and secrets - and, as ever in the French capital, glamour and determination.
By Giles Milton. 2016
'A magnificent story, brilliantly told. Read it!' Anthony HorowitzSix gentlemen, one goal - the destruction of Hitler's war machineIn the…spring of 1939, a top secret organisation was founded in London: its purpose was to plot the destruction of Hitler's war machine through spectacular acts of sabotage. The guerrilla campaign that followed was to prove every bit as extraordinary as the six gentlemen who directed it. Winston Churchill selected them because they were wildly creative and thoroughly ungentlemanly. One of them, Cecil Clarke, was a maverick engineer who had spent the 1930s inventing futuristic caravans. Now, his talents were put to more devious use: he built the dirty bomb used to assassinate Hitler's favourite, Reinhard Heydrich. Another member of the team, William Fairbairn, was a portly pensioner with an unusual passion: he was the world's leading expert in silent killing. He was hired to train the guerrillas being parachuted behind enemy lines.Led by dapper Scotsman Colin Gubbins, these men - along with three others - formed a secret inner circle that planned the most audacious sabotage attacks of the Second World War. Winston Churchill called it his Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. The six 'ministers', aided by a group of formidable ladies, were so effective that they single-handedly changed the course of the war.Told with Giles Milton's trademark verve and eye for detail, Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is thoroughly researched and based on hitherto unknown archival material. It is a gripping and vivid narrative of adventure and derring-do and is also, perhaps, the last great untold story of the Second World War.Previously published in hardback as The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.
By Jim DeFelice, Ray Lambert. 2019
An astonishing new firsthand account of D-Day. <P><P>Seventy-five years ago, he hit Omaha Beach with the first wave. Now Ray…Lambert, ninety-eight years old, delivers one of the most remarkable memoirs of our time, a tour-de-force of remembrance evoking his role as a decorated World War II medic who risked his life to save the heroes of D-Day. <P><P>At five a.m. on June 6, 1944, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ray Lambert worked his way through a throng of nervous soldiers to a wind-swept deck on a troopship off the coast of Normandy, France. <P><P>A familiar voice cut through the wind and rumble of the ship’s engines. “Ray!” called his brother, Bill. Ray, head of a medical team for the First Division’s famed 16th Infantry Regiment, had already won a silver star in 1943 for running through German lines to rescue trapped men, one of countless rescues he’d made in North Africa and Sicily. <P><P>“This is going to be the worst yet,” Ray told his brother, who served alongside him throughout the war.“If I don’t make it,” said Bill, “take care of my family.”“I will,” said Ray. He thought about his wife and son–a boy he had yet to see. “Same for me.” The words were barely out of Ray’s mouth when a shout came from below.To the landing craft! <P><P>The brothers parted. Their destinies lay ten miles away, on the bloodiest shore of Normandy, a plot of Omaha Beach ironically code named “Easy Red.” <P><P>Less than five hours later, after saving dozens of lives and being wounded at least three separate times, Ray would lose consciousness in the shallow water of the beach under heavy fire. He would wake on the deck of a landing ship to find his battered brother clinging to life next to him. <P><P>Every Man a Hero is the unforgettable story not only of what happened in the incredible and desperate hours on Omaha Beach, but of the bravery and courage that preceded them, throughout the Second World War—from the sands of Africa, through the treacherous mountain passes of Sicily, and beyond to the greatest military victory the world has ever known. <P><b>A New York Times Bestseller</b>
By Jane Rogoyska. 2021
&‘A work of significant moral clarity and elegant precision.&’ Kirkus, starred review The Katyn Massacre of 22,000 Polish prisoners of…war is a crime to which there are no witnesses. Committed in utmost secrecy in April–May 1940 by the NKVD on the direct orders of Joseph Stalin, for nearly fifty years the Soviet regime succeeded in maintaining the fiction that Katyn was a Nazi atrocity, their story unchallenged by Western governments fearful of upsetting a powerful wartime ally and Cold War adversary. Surviving Katyn explores the decades-long search for answers, focusing on the experience of those individuals with the most at stake – the few survivors of the massacre and the Polish wartime forensic investigators – whose quest for the truth in the face of an inscrutable, unknowable, and utterly ruthless enemy came at great personal cost.
By Tobias Hof. 2021
Building on extensive archival research and important scholarly analysis, Galeazzo Ciano: The Fascist Pretender examines the life of Galeazzo Ciano,…foreign minister of fascist Italy from 1936 to 1943 and Benito Mussolini’s son-in-law. Ciano’s life serves as a lens through which to gain a better understanding of crucial issues of Italian and European fascism, including the fascistization of society and politics, foreign relations, and the problem of succession. The biography follows an innovative thematic structure that focuses on major aspects of Ciano’s life, including his family, his political career, his diplomacy, and his desire to succeed Mussolini. Filling a substantial gap in the existing literature on the history of fascism, this book is the first comprehensive analysis of a key player of Italian fascism other than Mussolini; it also offers a long overdue critical assessment of Ciano’s famous diary, one of the most important texts from the period. Using visual materials such as photographs and films as sources and not just as illustrative material, Tobias Hof allows us to rethink our understanding of fascism and offers a new perspective on the history of fascist Italy.
By Marilyn G. Miller. 2021
While most people are aware of the World War II internment of thousands of Japanese citizens and residents of the…United States, few know that Germans, Austrians, and Italians were also apprehended and held in internment camps under the terms of the Enemy Alien Control Program. Port of No Return tells the story of New Orleans’s key role in this complex secret operation through the lens of Camp Algiers, located just three miles from downtown New Orleans.Deemed to be one of two principal ports through which enemy aliens might enter the United States, New Orleans saw the arrival of thousands of Latin American detainees during the war years. Some were processed there by the Immigration and Naturalization Service before traveling on to other detention facilities, while others spent years imprisoned at Camp Algiers. In 1943, a contingent of Jewish refugees, some of them already survivors of concentration camps in Europe, were transferred to Camp Algiers in the wake of tensions at other internment sites that housed both refugees and Nazis. The presence of this group earned Camp Algiers the nickname “Camp of the Innocents.”Despite the sinister overtones of the “enemy alien” classification, most of those detained were civilians who possessed no criminal record and had escaped difficult economic or political situations in their countries of origin by finding a refuge in Latin America. While the deportees had been assured that their stay in the United States would be short, such was rarely the case. Few of those deported to the U.S. during World War II were able to return to their countries of residence, either because their businesses and properties had been confiscated or because their home governments rejected their requests for reentry. Some were even repatriated to their countries of origin, a possibility that horrified Jews and others who had suffered under the Nazis. Port of No Return tells the varied, fascinating stories of these internees and their lives in Camp Algiers.
By Don Keith. 2011
No man above or below the waves was as admired--or feared--as this determined naval commander. . . Among submariners in…World War II, Dudley "Mush" Morton stood out as a warrior without peer. At the helm of the USS Wahoo he completely changed the way the sea war was fought in the Pacific. He would relentlessly attack the Japanese at every opportunity, going through his supply of torpedoes in record time on every patrol. In only nine months, he racked up an astounding list of achievements, including being the first American skipper to wipe out an entire enemy convoy single-handedly. Here, for the first time, is the life and legend of a heroic, dynamic, and ultimately divisive submarine commander who fought the war on his own terms, and refused to do so any other way.
By Gregory D. Sumner. 2015
When President Roosevelt called for the country to be the great "Arsenal of Democracy," Detroit helped turn the tide against…fascism with its industrial might. Locals were committed to the cause, putting careers and personal ambitions on hold. Factories were retooled from the ground up. Industrialist Henry Ford, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, aviator Charles Lindbergh, legendary boxer Joe Louis, future baseball Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg and the real-life Rosie the Riveters all helped drive the city that was "forging thunderbolts" for the front lines. With a panoramic narrative, author Gregory D. Sumner chronicles the wartime sacrifices, contributions and everyday life of the Motor City.
Spearhead of the Fifth Army: The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Italy, from the Winter Line to Anzio
By Frank Van Lunteren. 2016
&“An excellent read for anyone interested in men at war, as well as for students of the airborne operations, the…Italian Campaign, and the war in Europe&” (The NYMAS Review). Upon the completion of the Sicily and Salerno Campaigns in 1943, the paratroopers of Col. Reuben Tucker&’s 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment were among the first Allied troops to enter Naples—a ghost town at first sight. The residents soon expressed their joy at being liberated. Four weeks later, the 504th—upon the special request of Gen. Mark Clark—spearheaded Fifth Army&’s drive through the notorious Volturno Valley—the Germans&’ next stand. January 1944 seemed to promise a period of rest, but the landing at Anzio meant deployment for the paratroopers again, this time by ship. A bombing raid during their beach landing was a forecast of eight weeks of bitter fighting. Holding the right flank of the beachhead along the Mussolini Canal, the paratroopers earned their nickname &“Devils in Baggy Pants&” for their frontline incursions into enemy lines, as well as their stubborn defense of the Allied salient. In this work, H Company&’s attachment to the British 5th Grenadier Guards—and the Victoria Cross action of Maj. William Sidney—are painted in comprehensive light for the first time. The story of honorary member of the 504th PIR, Italian veteran Antonio Taurelli, is also included. Using war diaries, personal journals, letters, and interviews with nearly eighty veterans, an up-close view of the 504th PIR in the Fifth Army&’s Italy Campaign is here in unsurpassed detail. From the author of two previous works on the 504th PIR, The Battle of the Bridges and Blocking Kampfgruppe Peiper, this book shows that the Italian theater was second to none in terms of grueling combat, courage against formidable odds, and an extremely expert enemy.
You Can't Get Much Closer Than This: Combat With the 80th "Blue Ridge" Division in World War II Europe
By A. Z. Adkins Jr., Andrew Z. Adkins III. 2005
A young soldier’s memoirs of fighting in WWII: “Fascinating . . . A personal record like this is a valuable resource to anyone…interested in the period”(Military Model Scene).After the Citadel and Officer Candidate School, Andrew Z. Adkins Jr., was sent to the 80th Infantry Division, then training in the California-Arizona desert. There, he was assigned as an 81mm mortar section leader in Company H, 2nd Battalion, 317th Infantry Regiment.When the division completed training in December 1943, it was shipped in stages to the United Kingdom and then Normandy, where it landed on August 3, 1944. Lieutenant Adkins and his fellow soldiers took part in light hedgerow fighting that served to shake the division down and familiarize the troops and their officers with combat. The first real test came within weeks, when the 2nd Battalion, 317th Infantry, attacked high ground near Argentan during the drive to seal German forces in the Falaise Pocket. While scouting for mortar positions in the woods, Adkins met a group of Germans and shot one of them dead with his carbine. This baptism in blood settled the question faced by every novice combatant: He was cool under fire, capable of killing when facing the enemy. He later wrote, “It was a sickening sight, but having been caught up in the heat of battle, I didn’t have a reaction other than feeling I had saved my own life.”Thereafter, the 2nd Battalion, 317th Infantry, took part in bloody battles across France, sometimes coping with inept leadership and grievous losses, even as it took hills and towns away from the Germans. In the fighting graphically portrayed here, Adkins acted with skill and courage, placing himself at the forefront of the action whenever he could. His extremely aggressive delivery of critical supplies to a cut-off unit in an embattled French town earned him a Bronze Star, the first in his battalion.This is a story of a young soldier at war, a junior officer’s coming of age amid pulse-pounding combat. Before his death, Andy Adkins was able to face his memory of war as bravely as he faced war itself. He put it on paper, honest and unflinching. In 1944-45, he did his duty to his men and country—and here, he serves new generations of military and civilian readers.
By Avinoam Patt. 2021
The Jewish Heroes of Warsaw: The Afterlife of the Revolt by Avinoam J. Patt analyzes how the heroic saga of…the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was mythologized in a way that captured the attention of Jews around the world, allowing them to imagine what it might have been like to be there, engaged in the struggle against the Nazi oppressor. The timing of the uprising, coinciding with the transition to memorialization and mourning, solidified the event as a date to remember both the heroes and the martyrs of Warsaw, and of European Jewry more broadly. The Jewish Heroes of Warsaw includes nine chapters. Chapter 1 includes a brief history of Warsaw from 1939 to 1943, including the creation of the ghetto and the development of the Jewish underground. Chapter 2 examines how the uprising was reported, interpreted, and commemorated in the first year after the revolt. Chapter 3 concerns the desire for first-person accounts of the fighters. Chapter 4 examines the ways the uprising was seized upon by Jewish communities around the world as evidence that Jews had joined the struggle against fascism and utilized as a prism for memorializing the destruction of European Jewry. Chapter 5 analyzes how memory of the uprising was mobilized by the Zionist movement, even as it debated how to best incorporate the doomed struggle of Warsaw’s Jews into the Zionist narrative.Chapter 6 explores the aftermath of the war as survivors struggled to come to terms with the devastation around them. Chapter 7 studies how the testimonies of three surviving ghetto fighters present a fascinating case to examine the interaction between memory, testimony, politics, and history. Chapter 8 analyzes literary and artistic works, including Jacob Pat’s Ash un Fayer, Marie Syrkin, Blessed is the Match, and Natan Rapoport’s Monument to the Ghetto Fighters, among others. As this book demonstrates, the revolt itself, while described as a "revolution in Jewish history," did little to change the existing modes for Jewish understanding of events. Students and scholars of modern Jewish history, Holocaust studies, and European studies will find great value in this detail-oriented study.
By Elizabeth Anthony. 2021
The Compromise of Return: Viennese Jews after the Holocaust explores the motivations and expectations that inspired Viennese Jews to reestablish…lives in their hometown after the devastation and trauma of the Holocaust. Elizabeth Anthony investigates their personal, political, and professional endeavors, revealing the contours of their experiences of returning to a post-Nazi society, with full awareness that most of their fellow Austrians had embraced the Nazi takeover and their country’s unification with Germany—clinging to a collective national identity myth as "first victim" of the Nazis. Anthony weaves together archival documentation with oral histories, interviews, memoirs, and personal correspondence to craft a multilayered, multivoiced narrative of return focused on the immediate postwar years. The book consists of six chapters. Chapter 1 begins with setting the historical scene and political context to elucidate the backdrop for the role and position of Jews in Austrian and Viennese society. Chapter 2 begins just before the Soviet conquest of Vienna in April 1945 and with the story of the last Jews murdered in Vienna. Chapter 3 deals with the second group of returning Jews—concentration camp survivors—and outlines their varied processes and journeys, as they also followed their impulse to go to their familial home. Chapter 4 presents how their parties shaped their motivations and expectations of home while they lived abroad after fleeing from the Nazis. Chapter 5 illuminates the return and rerooting of Austrian Jewish professionals, including their struggles and successes. Chapter 6 expounds common challenges encountered by all groups of returnees while relaunching their lives in Vienna, with a focus on developing postwar identity concepts—both Viennese Jewish identity and Austrian national identity. The Compromise of Return is the first such social history to depict how survivors—individually and collectively—navigated postwar Vienna’s political and social setting. This book will be of special interest to scholars, students, and readers of Holocaust and European studies.
By Erin McGlothlin. 2021
The Mind of the Holocaust Perpetrator in Fiction and Nonfiction examines texts that portray the inner experience of Holocaust perpetrators…and thus transform them from archetypes of evil into complex psychological and moral subjects. Employing relevant methodological tools of narrative theory, Erin McGlothlin analyzes these unsettling depictions, which manifest a certain tension regarding the ethics of representation and identification. Such works, she asserts, endeavor to make transparent the mindset of their violent subjects, yet at the same time they also invariably contrive to obfuscate in part its disquieting character. The Mind of the Holocaust Perpetrator in Fiction and Nonfiction contains two parts. The first focuses on portraits of real-life perpetrators in nonfictional interviews and analyses from the 1960s and 1970s. These works provide a nuanced perspective on the mentality of the people who implemented the Holocaust via the interventional role of the interviewer or interpreter in the perpetrators’ performances of self-disclosure. In part two, McGlothlin investigates more recent fictional texts that imagine the perspective of their invented perpetrator-narrators. Such works draw readers directly into the perpetrator’s experience and at the same time impede their access to the perpetrator’s consciousness by retarding their affective connection. Demonstrating that recent fiction featuring perpetrators as narrators employs strategies derived from earlier nonfictional portrayals, McGlothlin establishes not only a historical connection between these two groups of texts, whereby nonfictional engagement with real-life perpetrators gradually gives way to fictional exploration, but also a structural and aesthetic one. The book bespeaks new modes of engagement with ethically fraught questions raised by our increasing willingness to consider the events of the Holocaust from the perspective of the perpetrator. Students, scholars, and readers of Holocaust studies and literary criticism will appreciate this closer look at a historically taboo topic.
By Ivo Mijnssen. 2021
World War II, known as the Great Patriotic War to Russians, ravaged the Soviet Union and traumatized those who survived.…After the war, memory of this anguish was often publicly repressed under Stalin. But that all changed by the 1960s. Under Brezhnev, the idea of the Great Patriotic War was transformed into one of victory and celebration. In Russia's Hero Cities, Ivo Mijnssen reveals how contradictory national recollections were revised into an idealized past that both served official needs and offered a narrative of heroism. This triumphant narrative was most evident in the creation of 13 Hero Cities, now located across Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. These cities, which were host to some of the fiercest and most famous battles, were named champions. Brezhnev's government officially recognized these cities with awards, financial contributions, and ritualized festivities. Their citizens also encountered the altered history at every corner—on manicured battlefields, in war memorials, and through stories at the kitchen table. Using a rich tapestry of archival material, oral history interviews, and newspaper articles, Mijnssen provides a thorough exploration of two cities in particular, Tula and Novorossiysk. By exploring the significance of Hero Cities in Soviet identity and the enduring but conflicted importance they hold for Russians today, Russia's Hero Cities exposes how the Great Patriotic War no longer has the power to mask the deep rifts still present in Russian society.
By Caterina Pascual Söderbaum. 2018
"Caterina Pascual Söderbaum has left a major European literary work of art as her legacy" STEVE SEM-SANDBERG, author of Emperor…of LiesThe Oblique Place is a captivating journey of the imagination, a prize-winning novel that probes the ruinous legacies of Fascist Europe in the twentieth century.The discovery of photographs in an album - of her Spanish grandfather who joined Hitler's Wehrmacht and her father in the uniform of Franco's army- leads Caterina Pascual Söderbaum to explore her family's links to some of the most abhorrent passages of twentieth-century history. Her mother turns out to be related to Kristina Söderbaum, a celebrated Swedish film star of the Third Reich, adored by Goebbels.She travels with husband and child to the shores of the idyllic Attersee in Austria, where the officers of the extermination camps spent their holidays. The journey continues from Schloss Hartheim, where the staff of the Nazi euthanasia programme forgot, with the help of alcohol and sex, the horrors that took place there, to the Villa Saint-Jean, where malnourished children from France's internment camps were sent to recover. This imaginative rediscovery of her own family's disturbing history is fused with vividly captured episodes from other lives and times, and the threads of evil that she lays bare are described in language so beautiful, so subtle and painterly, that her odyssey is at once shattering and mesmerising.Translated from the Swedish by Frank Perry