Victims, Victors: From Nazi Occupation to the Conquest of Germany as Seen by a Red Army Soldier

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Aberjona Press, 2007 - Всего страниц: 293
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Written as a journal of his experiences while a teenager during the German occupation of his village and later, as a memoir of his military service, Victims, Victors describes the confusion and agony of the conquered, and, ultimately, the triumph of avengers over those who invaded and ransacked their homeland. Victims, Victors is, however, much more than a common chronicle of wartime experiences. Only since the demise of the Communist regime can memoirs such as Victims, Victors be openly produced and marketed. Western readers will find that the author's perspective on the events of his youth seem quite alien, but will also find them fascinating. Like Alfred Novotny (The Good Soldier), whose Social Democrat family had openly opposed the ruling regime in Austria, Roman Kravchenko-Berezhnoy's family had openly opposed the Bolsheviks... yet, also like Novotny, who served in Germany's elite Grossdeutschland Division, the young Roman also proudly served in the Red Army. Like the green young American infantryman Frank Gurley (Into the Mountains Dark), who wrote down his account of events as they happened, or like the idealistic SS machinegunner Johann Voss (Black Edelweiss), who wrote his memoir immediately after the war, Roman also kept a detailed diary that rings with the ardor and authenticity of recent-not half-century old-observations and recollections. The horrific, first-hand experiences chronicled by the author combine with the rumors, myths, and misunderstandings that characterized the young diarist's comprehension of the war to create a sometimes strange, sometimes misinformed, but always spell-binding and illuminating and absorbing account... and the author's unvarnished, occasionally brutal descriptions of his combat experiences provide revealing glimpses into the savage nature of fighting on the Eastern Front.

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Об авторе (2007)

Roman Kravchenko-Berezhnoy was born in 1926 in Poland. His family was Russian, his father a former Tsarist officer. His town was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1939, and in 1941 it was made part of German-occupied Ukraine. After having experienced and documented the Nazi occupation, the author joined the Red Army in the spring of 1944, where he at first served as a simple rifleman (with a submachine gun) in the 61st Army s 356th Rifle Division. When his language skills were noticed he was transferred to a reconnaissance detachment in the same division. He fought in Latvia, Poland, and Germany up to the seizure of Berlin. In occupied Germany he served as a military interpreter for about five years, including an Inter-Allied group searching for the remains of Allied aviators. Because of the nature of the Stalinist system he was then rewarded for his long service abroad and contacts with westerners with banishment to a construction battalion in the Motherland. This was a penalty, but thanks to it he could graduate his secondary education. After almost 7 years of service in the enlisted ranks of the Red Army, he entered Lvov University in 1950. After graduation in 1955 from Lvov University, for more than fifty years Kravchenko-Berezhnoy has lived in the extreme north of Russia with his wife, Lyudmila Ivanovna. Both physicists, they met in 1957 as colleagues, married in 1963, and both received their PhDs for research work at the Kola Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Their daughter, Natalia, has a PhD in medicine, and their son, Vasily, is a Doctor in physics and mathematics. They have two grandchildren. Roman s elder son, Igor, has a PhD in geology and is also an expert in translation of scientific literature to English. Roman, now 80, still works at his institute in Apatity, Kola Peninsula, Russia.

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