By Vasily Grossman
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Additional info for A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945
Apparently, they had been killed in their sleep by saboteurs. This was close to the frontier. He said that on that night of the German invasion he had to make a telephone call on some unimportant business and it turned out that communications weren’t working . . He was annoyed, but didn’t pay much attention to this. Nemtsevich said to me that German aircraft haven’t appeared over his airfield for ten days. He was categorical about his conclusion: the Germans have no fuel, the Germans have no aircraft, they have all been shot down.
Like most writers he immediately volunteered for the Red Army, yet Grossman, although only thirty-five, was completely unfit for war. The next few weeks became traumatic for Grossman, not just because of the crushing German victories, but for personal reasons. He was living in Moscow with his second wife in a small apartment and, for reasons of space, she discouraged him from asking his mother to leave Berdichev and seek refuge with them in Moscow. A week later, by the time he realised the extent of the danger, it was becoming too late for his mother to escape.
He was the grand old man of Soviet literature until his death. 5 Victor Serge (1890–1947), pen name of Viktor Kibalchich. Born in Belgium, he was the son of an Imperial Guards officer turned revolutionary and a Belgian mother. Serge, an anarchist in France, was a libertarian socialist, who went to Russia in 1918 to join the revolution, but was horrified by Bolshevik authoritarianism. He is best known for his outstanding autobiography, Memoirs of a Revolutionary (1945), and the novels Men in Prison, Birth of our Power and The Case of Comrade Tulayev.
A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945 by Vasily Grossman