Historical Memory

Aleksandr Tvardovsky
I know that I am not to blame for,
The fact that others did not return from war,
The fact that they – some older, some younger-
Remain there, and its not as if,
I could have, but wasn’t able to save them,
Its not about that, but regardless, regardless, regardless…

– Aleksandr Tvardovsky (Translated by me)

So I’m back to leafing through various collections of WWII poetry. With June 22nd coming up, I figured I’d post this. I don’t know what draws me to these verses over and over again. They’re imprints of an epoch (even though the one above was penned in 1968.)

I probably wrote hundreds of pages in college about historical memory, WWII and the USSR. Especially the evolution in which the way it was portrayed in Soviet cinema. It fascinates me. Maybe its because that spectre still looms, or rather loomed for decades after, in the background of society (for anyone interested there is a great book called The Living and the Dead about the cult of WWII in the Soviet Union.) Honestly, I would say that it still looms. Maybe it’s the role my has grandfather played in my life and the stories I’ve heard countless times about his youth during the war. Whatever it is, it’s June and I find myself looking back to the past.


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