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Vasily Grossman

VASILY SEMIONOVICH GROSSMAN (1905-1964) was born into a Jewish family in Berdichev, in what is now Ukraine. In 1934 he published both “In the Town of Berdichev” – a short story that won him immediate acclaim – and the novel Glückauf, about Donbas miners. During the Second World War, he worked as a reporter for the army newspaper Red Star; his “The Hell of Treblinka” (1944) was one of the first accounts of a Nazi death camp to be published in any language. His long novel Stalingrad was published in 1952. During the next few years Grossman worked on his second Stalingrad novel: Life and Fate. In February 1961, the KGB confiscated his typescript, but he was able to continue working on Everything Flows, which is yet more critical of the Soviet regime, until his last days. The short stories he wrote during his last three years are among his supreme achievements; English translations are included in The Road. Grossman died on 14 September 1964, on the eve of the twenty-third anniversary of the massacre of the Jews of Berdichev, in which his mother had died.
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