Vasily Grossman

Vasily Semenovich Grossman;Vasily Semyonovich Grossman

1905 (Berdichev, now Berdychiv, Ukraine) – 1964 (Moscow)

Grossman – still too little known – was novelist turned celebrated war-reporter turned documenter-in-chief of Soviet murder of its own Jewish population. Gorky encouraged Grossman in his writing (stressing the need for socialist realism), invited him to his house, and proved the key to entry into official recognition, later stripped. Ehrenburg and Grossman, friends and colleagues, undertook the great task of gathering testimonies of the massacring of Soviet Jews into what became their ‘Black Book’: publication in the USSR was perhaps unsurprisingly suppressed. Platonov was a close friend — Grossman tried to persuade his editor to give him literary refuge.

Vasily Grossman knew…