Vasily Grossman


Vasily Semyonovich Grossman was born on December 12, 1905, in Berdichev, a Ukrainian town that was home to one of Europe’s largest Jewish communities. In 1934 he published both “In the Town of Berdichev”—a short story that won the admiration of such diverse writers as Maksim Gorky, Mikhail Bulgakov, and Isaak Babel—and a novel, Glyukauf, about the life of the Donbass miners. During the Second World War, Grossman worked as a reporter for the army newspaper Red Star, covering nearly all of the most important battles from the defense of Moscow to the fall of Berlin. His vivid yet sober “The Hell of Treblinka” (late 1944), one of the first articles in any language about a Nazi death camp, was translated and used as testimony in the Nuremberg trials. His novel For a Just Cause (originally titled Stalingrad) was published to great acclaim in 1952 and then fiercely attacked. A new wave of purges—directed against the Jews—was about to begin; but for Stalin’s death, in March 1953, Grossman would almost certainly have been arrested himself. During the next few years Grossman, while enjoying public success, worked on his two masterpieces, neither of which was to be published in Russia until the late 1980s: Life and Fate and Everything Flows. The KGB confiscated the manuscript of Life and Fate in February 1961. Grossman was able, however, to continue working on Everything Flows, a novel even more critical of Soviet society than Life and Fate, until his last days in the hospital. He died on September 14, 1964, on the eve of the twenty-third anniversary of the massacre of the Jews of Berdichev in which his mother had died.

Books
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    An Armenian Sketchbook

    Vasily Grossman wrote not only one of the great Russian novels of the 20th-century (Life and Fate), but also vivid reportage, moving essays, and brilliant travel journals. This account of two months he spent in Armenia in the mid-60s is the most intimate of his works. Suppressed during his life, it is here available in English for the first time.

  • The Vasily Grossman Collection

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    The Road

    Grossman’s Life and Fate has been called the War and Peace of WWII, and his war reporting considered among the most important from the field. The Road brings together Grossman’s best untranslated fiction and nonfiction, including “The Hell of Treblinka,” one of the very first journalistic dispatches from inside a concentration camp.

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    Everything Flows

    The final novel from the author of Life and Fate centers on a former political prisoner adjusting to freedom after decades spent in Soviet camps. It is a story of love, survival, honor, and an indictment of the totalitarian state.

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    Life and Fate

    An epic tale of World War II that interweaves a transfixing account of the battle of Stalingrad with the story of a single middle-class family, the Shaposhnikovs, scattered by fortune from Germany to Siberia.