Moscow International Memorial Society, recommended for the French equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize, this prominent nongovernmental group is dedicated to investigating Stalin’s repression. Sherbakova is an internationally recognized expert in the fate of former Red Army POW’s and slave labourers routinely sent to Soviet ‘filtration camps’ for ‘resocialization’ after the War. In Moscow, she gave me an extensive taped interview, reviewing the details of my mother’s story and breaking the shocking news to me, she was most likely in Auschwitz. This has triggered the next phase of my research: how did my mother evade the gas chambers? Did she arrive with the large group of 12,000 other Soviet prisoners in late 1941? What records might still exist? Are there any living witnesses?
The individual names of millions of Red Army soldiers are preserved in books lining the corridors of the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow.
A Soviet-era Pieta captures the pathos of loss that still permeates every contemporary family in Russia today.
A chapel dedicated to the memory of the fallen soldiers of World War Two stands on the grounds of the Moscow Museum of the Great Patriotic War.
“The heroism of The Second World War is the only thing that all Russians today can actually agree upon,” quipped a Moscow friend. But for international researchers abroad, Putin’s Russia still has not dealt with its dark chapter of branding Red Army POW’s who survived German captivity as traitors. A fate my mother narrowly escaped by marrying her Canadian liberator.
A quiet moment dwarfed by the wall relief dedicated to the 27 million Russians who died during the Great Patriotic War.