Thursday 9 June 2011

Two Babushkas

Finished June 8
Two Babushkas: how my grandmothers survived Hitler's war and Stalin's peace by Masha Gessen
I've started to go back to one of my earlier book lists and read books that I put on the list years ago. This is one of them. Finally tracked down a used copy.
Masha was born in Russia, but emigrated to the United States with her parents and younger brother when she was a young teen in 1981. She had fond memories of her grandmothers and went back to Russia as a young journalist to spend time with them. She became intrigued with their stories and managed to get a grant to write this book. She has moved back to Russia now herself.
This book follows her grandmothers from the 1920s to the 21st century. Her grandmother Ester was born in Poland and moved to Russia to study after the beginning of World War II. Her grandmother Rozalia was born in Moscow. They are both ethnic Jews, not religious but labelled different by the Russian government.
The book follows them from girlhood, through World War II hardships, marriage, children, job hunting, widowhood, social ostracism, and much more.
Masha has been able to coax an amazing amount of detail out of her grandmothers and adds historical research and personal papers to her resources to fill out the stories. These are very interesting women who have had very interesting lives.


  1. this sounds like I need to read this, while I never knew my grandmothers, (they both died during the war) my mother and father were exiled to Siberia through the war, it's so hard to find "real" stories about this time. thanks for your review.

  2. Irene - I'd be glad to pass it on to you. Not sure about the mail right now with the postal strike, but we can likely work something out.

  3. Sounds like a great idea, and yes, let's wait for our postal service to be back on track. Thank You so much. When things get settled I'll email you my address.

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  5. I'm using this for the "What's in a Name" challenge for the Life Stage category.