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Micro

Sometimes, only the very micro things survive. 

Vassily Semyonovich Grossman (Василий Семёнович Гроссман), born in Ukraine in 1902, turned out to be a writer when he was 28, after working as an engineer. When the II World War started, he became a war correspondent and related what happened in Moscow, Stalingrad and Kursk. 

Vassily as a war correspondent

Irène Némirovsky, born in Ukraine in 1903, escaped with her family from the Russian Revolution, and established themselves in France. After studying Literature in Sorbone, Irène began writing her first novels.

Irène in France

Vassily lived in the USSR all his life. He died in 1964 of a stomach cancer. Irène lived in France until he was deported to Auschwitz in 1942. Both of them had approximately the same age, and both were Ukranian.

Both of them were acused of the same: being Jews. Vassily openly denounced the Holocaust, but his writings and opinions were censored by the Stalinist regime. Irène hated his family, and he projected this hate into Jews somehow. She became catholic and accepted France as her new country. 

Although Vassily lived in the USSR, the enemy of Germany, he suffered antisemitism too. Although Irène didn’t want to be Jewish, she was killed too.

Vassily wrote around eight books. Irène wrote around eleven.

Life and fate, wroten by Vassily, was submitted in 1960 for its publication, but the KGB seized all the documents. Semyon Lipkin, in 1974 (10 years after Vassily died), microfilmed one of the surviving copies and with the help of Vladimir Voinivich and Andrei Sakharov took it out of the Soviet Union. It was first published in 1980.

Vassily during the II World War

Suite Française, begun by Irène before her detention (1942) was not completely finished. It just had two parts of five. The novel depicts what was happening at that time, so it is one of the first novels about the II World War. Irène wrote it in microscopic handwriting in a single notebook. She was killed before finishing it. Her husband was also deported. Her daughters, escaping periodically from the SS, finally survived, and some of Irène papers too. Denise, the older daughter, kept this notebook unread for 50 years. It was first published in 1990.

Irène’s writing
Irène’s notebook




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