January 07 , 2009

How It Was

Life and Love in Russia’s Great War


Vera Kharkova, born in 1922, witnessed and took part in the entire lifespan of the Soviet Union. In the early 2000s, upon her retirement, she began writing down her memories about her life. She wrote about things “as they remained in her memory, in her perception.” This book describes the war period starting with the declaration of war in June 1941 and ending with her husband’s homecoming in the spring of 1946. It includes the most important event in her life meeting with her future husband in 1943, who became the love of her life. The text consists of two parallel narratives: a description of the author’s life on the home front, and the life of her husband on the front during the same time period. The account of her husband’s life is based on his letters from the front. Although the memoirs are of a private nature, they vividly depict what the war was like for those who lived through it. Written sincerely and openly, these records make for captivating reading.

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When the war was over and her husband returned from the front, they moved to Leningrad, where they lived happily until his death in 1973. In addition to Zhorik, about whom she writes in this book, they had two daughters, Vera and Olga. Now the author lives in St. Petersburg. She has six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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