Cover Osteuropa 4/2007

In Osteuropa 4/2007

“Good Russians” in the Memory of Germans
Letters to Lev Kopelev, 1981–1997

Doris Kaufmann

Deutsche Fassung


Lev Kopelev’s autobiography To Be Preserved Forever was very well received in West Germany, above all for its chapter on East Prussia. There, the former Soviet propaganda officer depicted acts of violence committed by the Red Army during the invasion of East Prussia. With that, the Russian human rights activist and specialist in German studies opened up a realm in which individuals could remember guilt – especially former Wehrmacht soldiers – which they admitted in numerous letters. For girls and young women who had fallen victim to Red Army sexual violence while fleeing, Kopelev’s account meant the revelation and recognition of their suffering. For both groups, the encounter with individual “good Russians” provided a central figure of memory, which made it possible to channel their own burdensome past into a “good story”.

(Osteuropa 4/2007, pp. 157–207)