Cover Osteuropa 4-6/2005

In Osteuropa 4-6/2005

German on call
From The Black Book to The Young Guard

Michail Ryklin

Deutsche Fassung


During the years 1944-47, the Black Book dealing with the genocide perpetrated against the Jews was compiled under the auspices of the CPSU. The purpose of the book was to document German crimes on Soviet territory and the territory of neighbouring states. Under late Stalinism, though, this documentary record was suddenly considered ideologically harmful. Publication ceased, and as a result the truth about the extermination of millions of Jews was concealed in the USSR. At about the same time, Aleksandr Fadeev was writing The Young Guard. This book, with its claim to be semi-documentary, is about the struggle of the komsomoltsy against the German occupation. It is instructive to compare these two works’ images of the Germans and their interaction with those they fought against, those they destroyed, and those who resisted them. These are two competing projects, one of which was canonized and the other silenced in the totalitarian society.

(Osteuropa 4-6/2005, pp. 165–177)