Vasily Grossman From The Frontline

Episodes

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01Through Chekhov's Eyes2011090420121118

Elliot Levey reads Vasily Grossman's front line despatches from the battle of Stalingrad 1:Through Chekhov's Eyes. In the war of the rats snipers like Anatoly Chekhov reigned. Translated by Jim Riordan.

Vasily Grossman, author of Life and Fate, was transformed by his experiences as a front line war correspondent. Following the shock invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Grossman volunteered for front line duty. Declared unfit for active service he was assigned to Red Star newspaper as a special correspondent. His editor David Ortenberg noted that Grossman, despite no combat experience, knew about 'people's souls'.

1: Through Chekhov's Eyes. Red Star 20th November 1942.

'I wanted to become the sort of man who destroys the enemy with his own hands'. The cult of the sniper emerged spontaneously during the Stalingrad conflict. The 'Stalingrad Academy of street fighting' became a new kind of war where every floor, every building, every block became its own front line. Here a sniper could extract a terrible and personal vengeance upon the German invaders who had forced the Soviets to the very banks of the river Volga. Encouraged by their commanders, lionized by journalists like Grossman, the sniper became a heroic symbol of steely determination. Here Grossman delivers a portrait both intimate and heroic of a young man transformed by war amidst the ruined city.

Chekhov, along with Vasili Zaitsev, was already a star with 35 kills in the heaviest fighting of October. According to Grossman's editor, General Ortenberg, the writer spent many hours with Chekov in his firing post by a wrecked wall. Chekhov would later be credited with 256 'sticks' or enemy soldiers.

Reader Elliot Levey

Translator Jim Riordan

Producer Mark Burman.

In the war of the rats, snipers like Anatoly Chekhov reigned.

In the war of the rats, snipers like Anatoly Chekhov reigned.

Elliot Levey reads Vasily Grossman's front line despatches from the battle of Stalingrad 1:Through Chekhov's Eyes. In the war of the rats snipers like Anatoly Chekhov reigned. Translated by Jim Riordan.

Vasily Grossman, author of Life and Fate, was transformed by his experiences as a front line war correspondent. Following the shock invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Grossman volunteered for front line duty. Declared unfit for active service he was assigned to Red Star newspaper as a special correspondent. His editor David Ortenberg noted that Grossman, despite no combat experience, knew about 'people's souls'.

1: Through Chekhov's Eyes. Red Star 20th November 1942.

'I wanted to become the sort of man who destroys the enemy with his own hands'. The cult of the sniper emerged spontaneously during the Stalingrad conflict. The 'Stalingrad Academy of street fighting' became a new kind of war where every floor, every building, every block became its own front line. Here a sniper could extract a terrible and personal vengeance upon the German invaders who had forced the Soviets to the very banks of the river Volga. Encouraged by their commanders, lionized by journalists like Grossman, the sniper became a heroic symbol of steely determination. Here Grossman delivers a portrait both intimate and heroic of a young man transformed by war amidst the ruined city.

Chekhov, along with Vasili Zaitsev, was already a star with 35 kills in the heaviest fighting of October. According to Grossman's editor, General Ortenberg, the writer spent many hours with Chekov in his firing post by a wrecked wall. Chekhov would later be credited with 256 'sticks' or enemy soldiers.

Reader Elliot Levey

Translator Jim Riordan

Producer Mark Burman.

Elliot Levey reads Vasily Grossman's front line despatches from the battle of Stalingrad 1:Through Chekhov's Eyes.

Translated by Jim Riordan.

Vasily Grossman, author of Life and Fate, was transformed by his experiences as a front line war correspondent.

Following the shock invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Grossman volunteered for front line duty.

Declared unfit for active service he was assigned to Red Star newspaper as a special correspondent.

His editor David Ortenberg noted that Grossman, despite no combat experience, knew about 'people's souls'.

1: Through Chekhov's Eyes.

Red Star 20th November 1942.

'I wanted to become the sort of man who destroys the enemy with his own hands'.

The cult of the sniper emerged spontaneously during the Stalingrad conflict.

The 'Stalingrad Academy of street fighting' became a new kind of war where every floor, every building, every block became its own front line.

Here a sniper could extract a terrible and personal vengeance upon the German invaders who had forced the Soviets to the very banks of the river Volga.

Encouraged by their commanders, lionized by journalists like Grossman, the sniper became a heroic symbol of steely determination.

Here Grossman delivers a portrait both intimate and heroic of a young man transformed by war amidst the ruined city.

Chekhov, along with Vasili Zaitsev, was already a star with 35 kills in the heaviest fighting of October.

According to Grossman's editor, General Ortenberg, the writer spent many hours with Chekov in his firing post by a wrecked wall.

Chekhov would later be credited with 256 'sticks' or enemy soldiers.

In the war of the rats, snipers like Anatoly Chekhov reigned.

Elliot Levey reads Vasily Grossman's front line despatches from the battle of Stalingrad 1:Through Chekhov's Eyes. In the war of the rats snipers like Anatoly Chekhov reigned. Translated by Jim Riordan.

Vasily Grossman, author of Life and Fate, was transformed by his experiences as a front line war correspondent. Following the shock invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Grossman volunteered for front line duty. Declared unfit for active service he was assigned to Red Star newspaper as a special correspondent. His editor David Ortenberg noted that Grossman, despite no combat experience, knew about 'people's souls'.

1: Through Chekhov's Eyes. Red Star 20th November 1942.

'I wanted to become the sort of man who destroys the enemy with his own hands'. The cult of the sniper emerged spontaneously during the Stalingrad conflict. The 'Stalingrad Academy of street fighting' became a new kind of war where every floor, every building, every block became its own front line. Here a sniper could extract a terrible and personal vengeance upon the German invaders who had forced the Soviets to the very banks of the river Volga. Encouraged by their commanders, lionized by journalists like Grossman, the sniper became a heroic symbol of steely determination. Here Grossman delivers a portrait both intimate and heroic of a young man transformed by war amidst the ruined city.

Chekhov, along with Vasili Zaitsev, was already a star with 35 kills in the heaviest fighting of October. According to Grossman's editor, General Ortenberg, the writer spent many hours with Chekov in his firing post by a wrecked wall. Chekhov would later be credited with 256 'sticks' or enemy soldiers.

Reader Elliot Levey

Translator Jim Riordan

Producer Mark Burman.

01Through Chekhov's Eyes2011090420121118

In the war of the rats, snipers like Anatoly Chekhov reigned.

Elliot Levey reads Vasily Grossman's front line despatches from the battle of Stalingrad 1:Through Chekhov's Eyes. In the war of the rats snipers like Anatoly Chekhov reigned. Translated by Jim Riordan.

Vasily Grossman, author of Life and Fate, was transformed by his experiences as a front line war correspondent. Following the shock invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Grossman volunteered for front line duty. Declared unfit for active service he was assigned to Red Star newspaper as a special correspondent. His editor David Ortenberg noted that Grossman, despite no combat experience, knew about 'people's souls'.

1: Through Chekhov's Eyes. Red Star 20th November 1942.

'I wanted to become the sort of man who destroys the enemy with his own hands'. The cult of the sniper emerged spontaneously during the Stalingrad conflict. The 'Stalingrad Academy of street fighting' became a new kind of war where every floor, every building, every block became its own front line. Here a sniper could extract a terrible and personal vengeance upon the German invaders who had forced the Soviets to the very banks of the river Volga. Encouraged by their commanders, lionized by journalists like Grossman, the sniper became a heroic symbol of steely determination. Here Grossman delivers a portrait both intimate and heroic of a young man transformed by war amidst the ruined city.

Chekhov, along with Vasili Zaitsev, was already a star with 35 kills in the heaviest fighting of October. According to Grossman's editor, General Ortenberg, the writer spent many hours with Chekov in his firing post by a wrecked wall. Chekhov would later be credited with 256 'sticks' or enemy soldiers.

Reader Elliot Levey

Translator Jim Riordan

Producer Mark Burman.

Elliot Levey reads Vasily Grossman's front line despatches from the battle of Stalingrad 1:Through Chekhov's Eyes.

Translated by Jim Riordan.

Vasily Grossman, author of Life and Fate, was transformed by his experiences as a front line war correspondent.

Following the shock invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Grossman volunteered for front line duty.

Declared unfit for active service he was assigned to Red Star newspaper as a special correspondent.

His editor David Ortenberg noted that Grossman, despite no combat experience, knew about 'people's souls'.

1: Through Chekhov's Eyes.

Red Star 20th November 1942.

'I wanted to become the sort of man who destroys the enemy with his own hands'.

The cult of the sniper emerged spontaneously during the Stalingrad conflict.

The 'Stalingrad Academy of street fighting' became a new kind of war where every floor, every building, every block became its own front line.

Here a sniper could extract a terrible and personal vengeance upon the German invaders who had forced the Soviets to the very banks of the river Volga.

Encouraged by their commanders, lionized by journalists like Grossman, the sniper became a heroic symbol of steely determination.

Here Grossman delivers a portrait both intimate and heroic of a young man transformed by war amidst the ruined city.

Chekhov, along with Vasili Zaitsev, was already a star with 35 kills in the heaviest fighting of October.

According to Grossman's editor, General Ortenberg, the writer spent many hours with Chekov in his firing post by a wrecked wall.

Chekhov would later be credited with 256 'sticks' or enemy soldiers.

02The Stalingrad Army2011091720121125

Elliot Levey reads from Vasily Grossman's front line despatches.

Elliot Levey reads the second of Vasily Grossman's front line despatches from the battle of Stalingrad. The Stalingrad Army. Red Star -January 13th 1943. Translated by Jim Riordan.

'How can I convey my feelings at this moment in the dark basement which hadn't surrendered the factory to the enemy?'

As the 'special correspondent' for Red Star newspaper Vasily Grossman conveyed the 'ruthless truth of war' from the first disastrous weeks of the Nazi invasion in 1941 to victory in the ruins of Berlin. His intimate portraits of baby faced snipers, taciturn machine gunners and enthusiastic 'tankists' brought home the struggle to both the Soviet people and a wider world. Never more so than during the terrible battle for Stalingrad between July 1942 to February 1943.

The whole world was transfixed by a struggle that might determine the course of the war as Hitler's Sixth Army found the early success of late summer turning into disastrous defeat in the icy winter amidst the rubble. Throughout these months of terrible battle Grossman endured countless dangers to cross the river Volga and enter the ruined city. There he would listen and gather material for his detailed portraits for Red Star, stories from those who would most likely die in this pitiless 'war of the rats'. A war in which every cellar and every building became a front line. By January 1943 the desperate defence of the city had shifted as the surviving soldiers of the Red Army sensed a priceless victory. 2: The Stalingrad Army.

Reader: Elliot Levey

Translator: Jim Riordan

Producer: Mark Burman.

Elliot Levey reads the second of Vasily Grossman's front line despatches from the battle of Stalingrad.

The Stalingrad Army.

Red Star -January 13th 1943.

Translated by Jim Riordan.

As the 'special correspondent' for Red Star newspaper Vasily Grossman conveyed the 'ruthless truth of war' from the first disastrous weeks of the Nazi invasion in 1941 to victory in the ruins of Berlin.

His intimate portraits of baby faced snipers, taciturn machine gunners and enthusiastic 'tankists' brought home the struggle to both the Soviet people and a wider world.

Never more so than during the terrible battle for Stalingrad between July 1942 to February 1943.

The whole world was transfixed by a struggle that might determine the course of the war as Hitler's Sixth Army found the early success of late summer turning into disastrous defeat in the icy winter amidst the rubble.

Throughout these months of terrible battle Grossman endured countless dangers to cross the river Volga and enter the ruined city.

There he would listen and gather material for his detailed portraits for Red Star, stories from those who would most likely die in this pitiless 'war of the rats'.

A war in which every cellar and every building became a front line.

By January 1943 the desperate defence of the city had shifted as the surviving soldiers of the Red Army sensed a priceless victory.

2: The Stalingrad Army.

02The Stalingrad Army2011091720121125

Elliot Levey reads the second of Vasily Grossman's front line despatches from the battle of Stalingrad. The Stalingrad Army. Red Star -January 13th 1943. Translated by Jim Riordan.

'How can I convey my feelings at this moment in the dark basement which hadn't surrendered the factory to the enemy?'

As the 'special correspondent' for Red Star newspaper Vasily Grossman conveyed the 'ruthless truth of war' from the first disastrous weeks of the Nazi invasion in 1941 to victory in the ruins of Berlin. His intimate portraits of baby faced snipers, taciturn machine gunners and enthusiastic 'tankists' brought home the struggle to both the Soviet people and a wider world. Never more so than during the terrible battle for Stalingrad between July 1942 to February 1943.

The whole world was transfixed by a struggle that might determine the course of the war as Hitler's Sixth Army found the early success of late summer turning into disastrous defeat in the icy winter amidst the rubble. Throughout these months of terrible battle Grossman endured countless dangers to cross the river Volga and enter the ruined city. There he would listen and gather material for his detailed portraits for Red Star, stories from those who would most likely die in this pitiless 'war of the rats'. A war in which every cellar and every building became a front line. By January 1943 the desperate defence of the city had shifted as the surviving soldiers of the Red Army sensed a priceless victory. 2: The Stalingrad Army.

Reader: Elliot Levey

Translator: Jim Riordan

Producer: Mark Burman.

Elliot Levey reads from Vasily Grossman's front line despatches.

Elliot Levey reads the second of Vasily Grossman's front line despatches from the battle of Stalingrad. The Stalingrad Army. Red Star -January 13th 1943. Translated by Jim Riordan.

'How can I convey my feelings at this moment in the dark basement which hadn't surrendered the factory to the enemy?'

As the 'special correspondent' for Red Star newspaper Vasily Grossman conveyed the 'ruthless truth of war' from the first disastrous weeks of the Nazi invasion in 1941 to victory in the ruins of Berlin. His intimate portraits of baby faced snipers, taciturn machine gunners and enthusiastic 'tankists' brought home the struggle to both the Soviet people and a wider world. Never more so than during the terrible battle for Stalingrad between July 1942 to February 1943.

The whole world was transfixed by a struggle that might determine the course of the war as Hitler's Sixth Army found the early success of late summer turning into disastrous defeat in the icy winter amidst the rubble. Throughout these months of terrible battle Grossman endured countless dangers to cross the river Volga and enter the ruined city. There he would listen and gather material for his detailed portraits for Red Star, stories from those who would most likely die in this pitiless 'war of the rats'. A war in which every cellar and every building became a front line. By January 1943 the desperate defence of the city had shifted as the surviving soldiers of the Red Army sensed a priceless victory. 2: The Stalingrad Army.

Reader: Elliot Levey

Translator: Jim Riordan

Producer: Mark Burman.

Elliot Levey reads from Vasily Grossman's front line despatches.

Elliot Levey reads the second of Vasily Grossman's front line despatches from the battle of Stalingrad. The Stalingrad Army. Red Star -January 13th 1943. Translated by Jim Riordan.

'How can I convey my feelings at this moment in the dark basement which hadn't surrendered the factory to the enemy?'

As the 'special correspondent' for Red Star newspaper Vasily Grossman conveyed the 'ruthless truth of war' from the first disastrous weeks of the Nazi invasion in 1941 to victory in the ruins of Berlin. His intimate portraits of baby faced snipers, taciturn machine gunners and enthusiastic 'tankists' brought home the struggle to both the Soviet people and a wider world. Never more so than during the terrible battle for Stalingrad between July 1942 to February 1943.

The whole world was transfixed by a struggle that might determine the course of the war as Hitler's Sixth Army found the early success of late summer turning into disastrous defeat in the icy winter amidst the rubble. Throughout these months of terrible battle Grossman endured countless dangers to cross the river Volga and enter the ruined city. There he would listen and gather material for his detailed portraits for Red Star, stories from those who would most likely die in this pitiless 'war of the rats'. A war in which every cellar and every building became a front line. By January 1943 the desperate defence of the city had shifted as the surviving soldiers of the Red Army sensed a priceless victory. 2: The Stalingrad Army.

Reader: Elliot Levey

Translator: Jim Riordan

Producer: Mark Burman.

Elliot Levey reads the second of Vasily Grossman's front line despatches from the battle of Stalingrad.

The Stalingrad Army.

Red Star -January 13th 1943.

Translated by Jim Riordan.

As the 'special correspondent' for Red Star newspaper Vasily Grossman conveyed the 'ruthless truth of war' from the first disastrous weeks of the Nazi invasion in 1941 to victory in the ruins of Berlin.

His intimate portraits of baby faced snipers, taciturn machine gunners and enthusiastic 'tankists' brought home the struggle to both the Soviet people and a wider world.

Never more so than during the terrible battle for Stalingrad between July 1942 to February 1943.

The whole world was transfixed by a struggle that might determine the course of the war as Hitler's Sixth Army found the early success of late summer turning into disastrous defeat in the icy winter amidst the rubble.

Throughout these months of terrible battle Grossman endured countless dangers to cross the river Volga and enter the ruined city.

There he would listen and gather material for his detailed portraits for Red Star, stories from those who would most likely die in this pitiless 'war of the rats'.

A war in which every cellar and every building became a front line.

By January 1943 the desperate defence of the city had shifted as the surviving soldiers of the Red Army sensed a priceless victory.

2: The Stalingrad Army.

Elliot Levey reads from Vasily Grossman's front line despatches.

03 LASTUkraine Without Jews2011091820121202

Elliot Levey reads the final front line despatch from Vasily Grossman's wartime journalism. 3: Ukraine Without Jews. 'Stillness. Silence. A people has been murdered.'

The author of Life and Fate, which begins its dramatization on Radio 4 today, conveyed the 'ruthless truth of war' that revealed itself to the Soviet Union after Nazi invasion in June 1941. This devastating piece was one of the very first articles to describe the results of Nazi genocide as the war still raged.

Grossman's own mother would be one of the thousands murdered in his home town of Berdichev which lay in the path of the Nazi's lightning quick advance through the Ukraine. Some one and half million Jewish people lived in these newly conquered areas, nearly all would be shot in what has become known as 'shoa by bullet'

Grossman had volunteered for military service partly in reaction to his mother's fate. Instead he found himself assigned as frontline correspondent for the military newspaper Red Star. From the disastrous year of 1941 to final victory in ruined Berlin, Grossman gave the Soviet people a sense of their war.

But his attempts to detail the murder of the millions of Jews on Soviet soil would only be met by official silence. As the Red Army began reconquering the occupied lands Grossman travelled with them, recording the empty villages and towns, the mass graves and terrible silence. Ukraine Without Jews was rejected by the military censor and would only appear in the Yiddish newspaper Einkayt in November 1943. The full version, from which this is an extract, would only be rediscovered in the late 1990's and appeared in English earlier this year.

Reader Elliot Levey

Translators Jim Riordan and Polly Zavadivker

Producer Mark Burman.

One of the first articles to detail Nazi genocide as the war still raged.

One of the first articles to detail Nazi genocide as the war still raged.

Elliot Levey reads the final front line despatch from Vasily Grossman's wartime journalism. 3: Ukraine Without Jews. 'Stillness. Silence. A people has been murdered.'

The author of Life and Fate, which begins its dramatization on Radio 4 today, conveyed the 'ruthless truth of war' that revealed itself to the Soviet Union after Nazi invasion in June 1941. This devastating piece was one of the very first articles to describe the results of Nazi genocide as the war still raged.

Grossman's own mother would be one of the thousands murdered in his home town of Berdichev which lay in the path of the Nazi's lightning quick advance through the Ukraine. Some one and half million Jewish people lived in these newly conquered areas, nearly all would be shot in what has become known as 'shoa by bullet'

Grossman had volunteered for military service partly in reaction to his mother's fate. Instead he found himself assigned as frontline correspondent for the military newspaper Red Star. From the disastrous year of 1941 to final victory in ruined Berlin, Grossman gave the Soviet people a sense of their war.

But his attempts to detail the murder of the millions of Jews on Soviet soil would only be met by official silence. As the Red Army began reconquering the occupied lands Grossman travelled with them, recording the empty villages and towns, the mass graves and terrible silence. Ukraine Without Jews was rejected by the military censor and would only appear in the Yiddish newspaper Einkayt in November 1943. The full version, from which this is an extract, would only be rediscovered in the late 1990's and appeared in English earlier this year.

Reader Elliot Levey

Translators Jim Riordan and Polly Zavadivker

Producer Mark Burman.

Elliot Levey reads the final front line despatch from Vasily Grossman's wartime journalism.

3: Ukraine Without Jews.

'Stillness.

Silence.

A people has been murdered.'

The author of Life and Fate, which begins its dramatization on Radio 4 today, conveyed the 'ruthless truth of war' that revealed itself to the Soviet Union after Nazi invasion in June 1941.

This devastating piece was one of the very first articles to describe the results of Nazi genocide as the war still raged.

Grossman's own mother would be one of the thousands murdered in his home town of Berdichev which lay in the path of the Nazi's lightning quick advance through the Ukraine.

Some one and half million Jewish people lived in these newly conquered areas, nearly all would be shot in what has become known as 'shoa by bullet'

Grossman had volunteered for military service partly in reaction to his mother's fate.

Instead he found himself assigned as frontline correspondent for the military newspaper Red Star.

From the disastrous year of 1941 to final victory in ruined Berlin, Grossman gave the Soviet people a sense of their war.

But his attempts to detail the murder of the millions of Jews on Soviet soil would only be met by official silence.

As the Red Army began reconquering the occupied lands Grossman travelled with them, recording the empty villages and towns, the mass graves and terrible silence.

Ukraine Without Jews was rejected by the military censor and would only appear in the Yiddish newspaper Einkayt in November 1943.

The full version, from which this is an extract, would only be rediscovered in the late 1990's and appeared in English earlier this year.

One of the first articles to detail Nazi genocide as the war still raged.

Elliot Levey reads the final front line despatch from Vasily Grossman's wartime journalism. 3: Ukraine Without Jews. 'Stillness. Silence. A people has been murdered.'

The author of Life and Fate, which begins its dramatization on Radio 4 today, conveyed the 'ruthless truth of war' that revealed itself to the Soviet Union after Nazi invasion in June 1941. This devastating piece was one of the very first articles to describe the results of Nazi genocide as the war still raged.

Grossman's own mother would be one of the thousands murdered in his home town of Berdichev which lay in the path of the Nazi's lightning quick advance through the Ukraine. Some one and half million Jewish people lived in these newly conquered areas, nearly all would be shot in what has become known as 'shoa by bullet'

Grossman had volunteered for military service partly in reaction to his mother's fate. Instead he found himself assigned as frontline correspondent for the military newspaper Red Star. From the disastrous year of 1941 to final victory in ruined Berlin, Grossman gave the Soviet people a sense of their war.

But his attempts to detail the murder of the millions of Jews on Soviet soil would only be met by official silence. As the Red Army began reconquering the occupied lands Grossman travelled with them, recording the empty villages and towns, the mass graves and terrible silence. Ukraine Without Jews was rejected by the military censor and would only appear in the Yiddish newspaper Einkayt in November 1943. The full version, from which this is an extract, would only be rediscovered in the late 1990's and appeared in English earlier this year.

Reader Elliot Levey

Translators Jim Riordan and Polly Zavadivker

Producer Mark Burman.

03 LASTUkraine Without Jews2011091820121202

One of the first articles to detail Nazi genocide as the war still raged.

Elliot Levey reads the final front line despatch from Vasily Grossman's wartime journalism. 3: Ukraine Without Jews. 'Stillness. Silence. A people has been murdered.'

The author of Life and Fate, which begins its dramatization on Radio 4 today, conveyed the 'ruthless truth of war' that revealed itself to the Soviet Union after Nazi invasion in June 1941. This devastating piece was one of the very first articles to describe the results of Nazi genocide as the war still raged.

Grossman's own mother would be one of the thousands murdered in his home town of Berdichev which lay in the path of the Nazi's lightning quick advance through the Ukraine. Some one and half million Jewish people lived in these newly conquered areas, nearly all would be shot in what has become known as 'shoa by bullet'

Grossman had volunteered for military service partly in reaction to his mother's fate. Instead he found himself assigned as frontline correspondent for the military newspaper Red Star. From the disastrous year of 1941 to final victory in ruined Berlin, Grossman gave the Soviet people a sense of their war.

But his attempts to detail the murder of the millions of Jews on Soviet soil would only be met by official silence. As the Red Army began reconquering the occupied lands Grossman travelled with them, recording the empty villages and towns, the mass graves and terrible silence. Ukraine Without Jews was rejected by the military censor & would only appear in the Yiddish newspaper Einkayt in November 1943. The full version, from which this is an extract, would only be rediscovered in the late 1990's and appeared in English earlier this year.

Reader Elliot Levey

Translators Jim Riordan & Polly Zavadivker

Producer Mark Burman.

Elliot Levey reads the final front line despatch from Vasily Grossman's wartime journalism.

3: Ukraine Without Jews.

'Stillness.

Silence.

A people has been murdered.'

The author of Life and Fate, which begins its dramatization on Radio 4 today, conveyed the 'ruthless truth of war' that revealed itself to the Soviet Union after Nazi invasion in June 1941.

This devastating piece was one of the very first articles to describe the results of Nazi genocide as the war still raged.

Grossman's own mother would be one of the thousands murdered in his home town of Berdichev which lay in the path of the Nazi's lightning quick advance through the Ukraine.

Some one and half million Jewish people lived in these newly conquered areas, nearly all would be shot in what has become known as 'shoa by bullet'

Grossman had volunteered for military service partly in reaction to his mother's fate.

Instead he found himself assigned as frontline correspondent for the military newspaper Red Star.

From the disastrous year of 1941 to final victory in ruined Berlin, Grossman gave the Soviet people a sense of their war.

But his attempts to detail the murder of the millions of Jews on Soviet soil would only be met by official silence.

As the Red Army began reconquering the occupied lands Grossman travelled with them, recording the empty villages and towns, the mass graves and terrible silence.

Ukraine Without Jews was rejected by the military censor & would only appear in the Yiddish newspaper Einkayt in November 1943.

The full version, from which this is an extract, would only be rediscovered in the late 1990's and appeared in English earlier this year.