December 27, 1944

December 27th, 1944

When my life is good, I don’t want to write.

Was in the rest home, read Sister Carrie, Bagration.1 Good books. “Oh Carrie, Carrie! Oh blind strivings of the human heart! Onward, onward, it saith, and where beauty leads, there it follows.” I read and thought – Theodore Dreiser wrote this for you. Or Bagration: “This is the meaning of glory – this or his skull split in the name of the Motherland, or until another’s crumbles. – Here is glory!” I will do so, by God.

I saw a lot of pictures: “In Old Chicago,”2 “Wait for Me,”3 etc… “Submarine Number 9.”4 The last one made a good impression on me. The rest I thought about a little, and they were OK, can’t tell if they were good.

Now sitting near Nikolai Federov. I’m already gone, and I think for the last time, as I do not feel drawn towards him. Yes, a month already, and I was not with him and we didn’t even talk. Issued the documents for Order of Glory, 1st degree.

Walked yesterday, bumped into a sweet little boy. “Let me give you a kiss. I’m 4-years-old and I haven’t kissed a girl.” And he asked so earnestly, I got sentimental. And really, so cute, not nasty, but nice. “To hell with you – I say – kiss me, just one time.” And I nearly cried. Why? From compassion.

“Love stands strong, it gives beauty where there is none, and forges chains which no spell can break.” (“Princess Heart”)

“Oh passion, passion! Oh blind strivings of the human heart! Onward, onward, it saith, and where beauty leads, there it follows.” (“Sister Carrie,” Theodore Dreiser)

“This is the meaning of glory – this or his skull split in the name of the Motherland, or until another’s crumbles. – Here is glory!” (Bagration)

“You would bind my will with your laws? The law makes a crawling snail of those who would take off in an eagle’s flight.” (“The Story of my Life” – rebels’ words.)

My love

With resentment you write me, that I have forgotten you

But you must understand, I am at war, my love

So many more than I can count, waiting for letters from me

And in Omsk, and in Tomsk, my love

And waiting yet longer for me, my wife

You forget my destiny, my love

You write to me, that there is a daughter, she looks like me

So let her grow, I do not mind, my love

and where is the father, some will ask of you

Say then: “He is at the front, my love”

For the joke I’m sorry, it’s the fault of the war

And more you should not wait, my love

Although I’m very proud of you, a family waits for me

To you I’m not coming back, my love.


Outside at midnight, a candle burns down

See the high stars

You write a letter to me, my sweetheart,

in the flaming address of the war.

How long do you write, my sweetheart,

finish, rewrite again,

but, I am sure, at the front line

it will burst with great love.

A long time we are away, our room’s fire,

during the war, no smoke can be seen.

But one, who is loved, and one, who remembers

the home fires in war,

will be warmed at the front by warm letters.

In reading each line,

the beloved will see and hear their homeland,

as a voice through a thin wall.

We will be back, I know and believe,

and a time will come,

to leave sadness and separation at the door,

the house will know only joy.

And one evening, together with you,

pressing shoulder-to-shoulder,

we will sit and chronicle the war,

as a chronicle of sentiments re-read.


Beloved

My greetings, beloved, as before,

I do not want to hurt you,

I’m sweet and tender,

only I look more severe.

Nevermind, my character has become stronger,

besides some coarse language.

War has new laws to teach,

and I’m used to its laws.

Here in battle we do not fear cold,

or the pounding of heavy fire,

And, like before, I’m the same as you know,

easy to know, among everyone.

Under the melody of bullets and shells whistling,

I’m going to fight again today,

in that once-new overcoat,

We stand, remember, us with you.

On to the enemy, with his bitter heart,

I will go as a our hero,

to again live free,

We will begin to live happily with you.

In the meantime, my love, believe,

I have to go, I hear the rumble in the distance,

I’m going to meet death

in the land of fire,

and when I come back from this battle,

wait for me, do not grieve,

I’ll reward you with my greetings,

and a fiery hot kiss.


If your soul is filled with sadness,

if there bursts a fierce battle,

remember the dream

and all that I had with you.

Suppose you do not come to mind,

that we do not meet again,

we always had fun.

You’re on the way with them,

all around as you are leaving

a blood-drenched land.

Know! I go through the misty field

for thee, my love.



1  Biography of the general Pyotr Bagration, who commanded Russian troops to a material defeat, but strategic victory, against Napoleon’s army at the Battle of Borodino. Roza would not have known the name at the time, but her 3rd Belorussian front was participating in “Operation Bagration.”

2  Watch it on YouTube 20th Century Fox, 1937. In English!

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