History and destiny of “The Black Book”: Writers and documents of the epoch


“The Black Book” is a unique publication, presenting the archive of documents and eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust, the crimes against Jews in the USSR and Poland during the Second World War. The book was created in the 1940s by a large group of Soviet journalists and writers led by Ilya Erenburg and Vasily Grossman. The destiny of the book turned out to be complicated. A few decades had passed before Russian readers could see it. Today, it is known all over the world as one of the most ambitious investigations of fascist crimes. According to I. Erenburg, the book was supposed to include the stories of the survivors, eyewitness accounts, German orders, diaries and testimonies of the Nazis, memoirs and diaries of the victims. According to the plan, the book-document was not to become a collection of acts and protocols, but a collection of living stories, revealing the depth of the tragedy. Therefore, the book presents a unique publicist work where genuine documents and “live evidence” are organized according to the logic and laws of literature. Thus, we deal with “bridging the gaps” between History and Literature, to which a number of prominent Soviet authors made their contributions.

Key words: 

document, evidence, publicist work, Soviet authors, Holocaust.

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