Letters from the front

Do not miss me. Wait and hope.

Yes, I’ve experienced a lot in these last 5 years, since the moment we said goodbye, but all these have gone and there’s no need to remember. Now it’s time to think about my future life, I’m no longer a boy, I’m 24 now, and I don’t have any profession. Dad was right, he said, ‘Boris, learn from me. Once you learn, you’ll never forget it’. But I was...

28 Август 2015| Serebryakov Boris Pavlovich translated by Timofeeva Italina

The Spirit of the Boys’ Generation

In some letters I imagine a boy who has just left the school, who loves sweets and is interested in his classmates. In other letters there is a mature adult who had gone through all the terrors of war. Unshakeable faith in victory, humour and optimism resound in his letters. I have read aloud some lines from these letters during commemorative meetings...

21 Август 2015| Serebryakov Boris Pavlovich translated by Timofeeva Italina

Do Not Expect Me Soon

I already wrote you that you should wait for me, but do not expect me soon. The end of the War is far off, and, of course, I will not return soon. I’ve got so used to the War that bombings, artillery fire, mortar and machine-gun fire have already ceased to astonish me.

20 Март 2015| Shelyakhovskaya (Gruzdeva) Maria Aleksandrovna

The War Must Not Write Off Anything

Now I often hear here, in Totma, the saying: “The War will write off everything”. It is said by people of different professions, ages and with reference to all life situations. The War will write off treason, the War will write off the unfit work of a school, the War, in short, will write off everything. And this is so horrible—the War in particular...

5 Март 2015| Shelyakhovskaya (Gruzdeva) Maria Aleksandrovna

Correspondence of Spouses: “It’s difficult to write a good letter”

Again and again I reread your letters. From some letters I can see that you behave like a brick, but on others traces of your tears can be seen. You shouldn’t grieve, my darling. Remember that millions of people are suffering now, and you and I are far from being the most unhappy.

29 Декабрь 2014| Shelyakhovskaya (Gruzdeva) Maria Aleksandrovna

Anxious Hopes

I often look toward you—to the West. You, Dad, Leningrad... The heart has so pined for everything and everybody. But you do not worry about me and do not be upset—to this depression could be added many other anguishes—I do understand this, and I will manage.

22 Декабрь 2014| Shelyakhovskaya (Gruzdeva) Maria Aleksandrovna

Correspondence. December 1941

We cannot celebrate our New Year here physically. Everything goes on as always. I would like to receive a letter from you, but the mail does not keep pace with us, and I haven’t had letters for more than a week. Everything I write you does not have proper sequencing. It is caused by a number of reasons: It’s dark, crowded, rather cold, I’m tired and I...

15 Декабрь 2014| Shelyakhovskaya (Gruzdeva) Maria Aleksandrovna

Anxious Letters

I thought letters from you would be just about to resume coming, but, suddenly, the news: “Tikhvin has been surrendered to the Germans”. Again an obstacle… A few days ago I lost my wonderful driver, with whom I had traveled about 3 months: there are many reasons to suppose that he perished together with the truck. It is horribly sad, he was an excellent fellow.

8 Декабрь 2014| Shelyakhovskaya (Gruzdeva) Maria Aleksandrovna

There Is a Desire to Say So Much

The letters I write you are poor: there is no time, I am tired and a little coarsened. You forgive me for this. You are not receiving letters from me now, since from 4 through 22 or 23 I did not write you. Do not worry at such intervals. If there are no letters, this is not so bad, actually. I already wrote you that if anything happens, they won’t keep...

17 Ноябрь 2014| Shelyakhovskaya (Gruzdeva) Maria Aleksandrovna

The Last Letter from Mother to Son

Many people amazed me. And not only the vulgar, the angry and the illiterate. One was an old teacher, retired, 75 years old, he would always ask about you, send his regards, say about you: “He is our pride”. And those cursed days when we met he didn’t greet me, but looked away. And then I was told that he said at a meeting in the commandant's office:...

7 Ноябрь 2014| Grossman Ekaterina Savelyevna translated by Iliashenko Olga

Family Archive: The First Autumn of the War

As letters travel for about three weeks, one gets some strange impressions from them. I receive letters from you which were written when I was still in the rear, while it is a month already that we’ve been at the firing line. How much time, it seems, has passed since.

27 Октябрь 2014| Shelyakhovskaya (Gruzdeva) Maria Aleksandrovna

From the Gruzdevs’ Archive

I haven’t received a letter from you yet, but I’ve received a telegram. In Leningrad, although I haven’t been there since your departure, everything is as before: the fascists are not flying as far as to the city, and probably won’t fly as far. In my situation everything is as before. I shoot all day long, at a shooting-range as yet. Today I shot 5...

20 Октябрь 2014| Shelyakhovskaya (Gruzdeva) Maria Aleksandrovna

The Family Archive of the War Years

Our future Dad and Mama started writing their first letters to each other as early as in the peace time, in 1933. At that time they both had just finished the first year of Leningrad State Pedagogical Institute named after A. I. Herzen, where they were studying at the Department of Language and Literature.

13 Октябрь 2014| Shelyakhovskaya (Gruzdeva) Maria Aleksandrovna

Overseas Shipment and Combat Group Assignment

I was assigned a new crew, whose pilot had broken a leg playing volley ball. They were in the mid phase of their training. It only took a short while to blend into the new crew. They had been well trained and since I was repeating a month of training, with an additional hundred hours of flying experience I...

29 Сентябрь 2014| Levine Ray
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