Roza’s Diary is a labor of love to bring the story of a remarkable young woman to the English speaking world for the first time.
When I first read excerpts from her diary, I was blown away. So often in America the role of the Soviet Union in World War II is forgotten or minimized, and, when it is acknowledged, it is qualified with the misinformation and creative distortions of Hollywood action movies and cold war propaganda. I wanted to retell this story as a way of adding some color and detail to the picture. These were real people who loved, lost, and bled, and made unimaginable sacrifices.
I hope you will find Roza’s story as fascinating as I do.
Source material is drawn from abridged versions of Roza’s war diary published in 2011 and 2016 by the Arkhangelsk Regional Museum in Russia. Additional material is drawn from a separate heavily abridged and edited version published in the “Yunost” journal in April, 1965. Where there are discrepancies between versions, the most recent publication in used. The complete unabridged diary has never been made public. I consider this to be a work-in-progress and welcome all input.
As a disclaimer, Roza Shanina had very idiosyncratic handwriting (“t” looks like “b,” “P” looks like “i,” “g” and “u” are almost identical, etc.), which makes the occasional guess a necessity. Everyone has done their best.
All photos are in the public domain, to the best of my knowledge.