The Life and Fate of Grossman in Brief Content

The old communist Mikhail Mostovskoy, taken prisoner on the outskirts of Stalingrad, was brought to a concentration camp in West Germany. He falls asleep under the prayer of the Italian priest, Hardy, argues with the Tolstoyan Ikonnikov, sees the hatred of the Menshevik Chernetsov and the strong will of the “master of the thoughts” of Major Ershov.

Political commissar Krymov was sent to Stalingrad, to the army of Chuikov. He must disassemble the controversial matter between the commander and the commissar of the infantry regiment. Arriving in the regiment, Krymov learns that both the commander and the commissar died under bombardment. Soon Krymov himself takes part in the night battle.

The Moscow physicist Viktor Pavlovich Shtrum and his family are in evacuation in Kazan. Mother-in-law of Struma Alexandra Vladimirovna and in the mountain of war she kept her soulful youth: she is interested in the history of Kazan, streets and museums, everyday life of people.

The wife of Shtrum, Lyudmila, regards this interest in her mother as senile egoism. Lyudmila does not have news from the front from Tolya, the son of the first marriage. She is saddened by the categorical, lonely and difficult nature of her daughter, Nadya. Sister Lyudmila Zhenya Shaposhnikova was in Kuibyshev. Sergei’s nephew Sergei Shaposhnikov is at the front. Shtrum’s mother Anna Semenovna remained in the Ukrainian town occupied by the Germans, and Shtrum realizes that she, the Jews, has few chances to survive. His mood is heavy, he accuses his wife of the fact that because of her harsh nature Anna Semenovna could not live with them in Moscow. Only person,

Shtrum receives a farewell letter from his mother. Anna Semyonovna tells us what humiliations she had to endure in the city where she lived for twenty years, working as an ophthalmologist. The people she had known for a long time struck her. The neighbor quietly demanded to vacate the room and threw out her belongings. The old teacher stopped saying hello. But the former patient, whom she considered morose and gloomy, helped her by bringing food

to the ghetto fence. Through it, she handed a farewell letter to her son on the eve of the destruction.

Lyudmila receives a letter from the Saratov hospital, where her seriously wounded son lies. She urgently leaves there, but when she arrives, she learns about Tolya’s death. “All people are to blame for the mother who lost her son in the war, and try in vain to justify herself before her throughout the history of mankind.”

The secretary of the regional committee of one of the regions of Ukraine occupied by the Germans Hetmanov was appointed commissar of the tank corps. Hetman all his life worked in an atmosphere of denunciations, flattery and falsehood and now he transfers these vital principles to the front situation. The corps commander General Novikov is a straightforward and honest man, trying to prevent senseless human sacrifices. Hetmanov expresses his admiration for Novikov and simultaneously writes a denunciation that Komkor delayed the attack for eight minutes to save people.

Novikov loves Zhenya Shaposhnikov, comes to her in Kuibyshev. Before the war, Zhenya left her husband, political worker Krymov. She is alien to the views of Krymov, who approved of dekulakization, knowing about the terrible famine in the villages, justified the arrests of 1937. She answers Novikov with reciprocity, but warns him that if Krymov is arrested he will return to his ex-husband.

Military surgeon Sophia Osipovna Levinton, who was arrested on the outskirts of Stalingrad, enters a German concentration camp. The Jews are taken somewhere in freight cars, and Sophia Osipovna with astonishment sees how in just a few days many people go from person to “dirty and unhappy, deprived of the name and freedom of cattle.” Rebekah Buchman, trying to hide from the round-up, strangled her crying daughter.

On the way, Sofya Osipovna gets acquainted with the six-year-old David, who before the war came from Moscow for a vacation to his grandmother. Sofya Osipovna becomes the only support of a vulnerable, impressionable child. She feels a maternal feeling for him. Until the last minute Sofya Osipovna calms the boy, reassuring him. They die together in the gas chamber.

Krymov receives an order to go to Stalingrad, to the surrounded house “six fraction one”, where the people of the “manager” Grekov keep the defense. Before the political direction of the front, there were reports that Grekov refuses to write reports, conducts anti-Stalinist conversations with soldiers and, under German bullets, manifests independence from his superiors. Krymov should lead the Bolshevik order in the encircled house and, if necessary, remove Grekov from the command.

Shortly before the appearance of Krymov “manager” Grekov sent from the surrounded house fighter Serezha Shaposhnikov and the young radio operator Katya Vengrov, knowing about their love and wanting to save from death. Saying goodbye to Grekov, Seryozha “saw that he saw beautiful, human, intelligent and sad eyes that he had never seen in his life.”

But the commissar-Bolshevik of Krymov is only interested in collecting compromising materials on the “unmanageable” Grekov. Krymov revels in the consciousness of its significance, tries to catch Grekov in anti-Soviet sentiments. Even the mortal danger, which every minute the defenders of the house are exposed to, does not cool his ardor. Krymov decides to remove Grekov and himself to take command. But at night it is wounded by a stray bullet. Krymov guessed that the Greeks shot. Returning to the political department, he writes a denunciation of Grekov, but soon learns that he was late: all the defenders of the house “six fraction one” perished. Because of Crimean denunciation Grekov is not awarded the posthumous title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

In the German concentration camp, where Mostovskaya sits, an underground organization is being created. But among the prisoners there is no unity: brigade commissar Osipov does not trust the non-partisan Major Ershov, who comes from the family of the dekulakized. He is afraid that the brave, direct and decent Ershov will gain too much influence. The comrade Kotikov, thrown from Moscow into the camp, gives an order to act by Stalin’s methods. The Communists decide to get rid of Ershov and put his card in the group selected for Buchenwald. Despite his spiritual affinity with Ershov, the old communist Mostovskaya obeys this decision. An unknown provoker issues an underground organization, and the Gestapo destroys its participants.

The Institute in which Shtrum works returns from evacuation to Moscow. Strum writes a paper on nuclear physics, which is of general interest. A well-known academician speaks at the Academic Council that work of such significance has not yet been born in the walls of the physical institute. The work was put forward at the Stalin Prize, and Strum is on the wave of success, it pleases and excites him. But at the same time, Strum notices that Jews are slowly surviving from his laboratory. When he tries to intercede for his employees, he is made to understand that his own situation is not too reliable in connection with the “fifth point” and numerous relatives abroad.

Sometimes Shtrum meets with Marya Ivanovna Sokolova and soon realizes that she loves her and we love her. But Marya Ivanovna can not hide her love from her husband, and he takes it from her to not see with Shtrum. Just at this time, the persecution of Struma begins.

A few days before the Stalingrad offensive, Krymov was arrested and sent to Moscow. Once in the prison cell in Lubyanka, he can not recover from the unexpected: interrogations and torture are intended to prove his betrayal of the Motherland during the Battle of Stalingrad.

In the Battle of Stalingrad, the tank corps of General Novikov is different.

During the days of the Stalingrad offensive, the harassment of Struma becomes more acute. A devastating article appeared in the institute newspaper, he was persuaded to write a penitential letter, to make a confession of his mistakes at the academic council. Shtrum collects all his will and refuses to repent, does not even come to the meeting of the academic council. The family supports him and, in anticipation of arrest, is ready to share his fate. On this day, as always in the difficult moments of his life, Marya Ivanovna calls to Shtrum and says that she is proud of him and longs for him. Struma is not arrested, but only dismissed from work. He finds himself in isolation, his friends stop seeing him.

But in an instant the situation is changing. Theoretical work on nuclear physics draws Stalin’s attention. He calls Struma and is wondering if the outstanding scientist is not lacking something. Shtrum immediately restored in the institute, creating him all the conditions for work. Now he determines the composition of his laboratory, without regard to the nationality of employees. But when Shtrum begins to seem that he has come out of the black band of his life, he again faces a choice. He is asked to sign an appeal to English scientists who spoke in defense of the repressed Soviet colleagues. The leading Soviet scientists, to whom Shtrum is now listed, must confirm by the strength of their scientific authority that there are no repressions in the USSR. Shtrum does not have the strength to refuse and signs the appeal.

In Moscow Zhenya Shaposhnikova arrives, having learned about the arrest of Krymov. She stands in all the queues in which the wives of the repressed are, and a sense of duty towards her ex-husband struggles in her soul with love for Novikov. Novikov learns of her decision to return to Krymov during the Battle of Stalingrad. It seems to him that he will fall dead. But we must live and continue the offensive.

After the torture, Krymov lies on the floor in the Lubyanka office and hears the conversation of his executioners about the victory at Stalingrad. It seems to him that he sees Grekov walking towards him through the broken Stalingrad brick. The interrogation continues, Krymov refuses to sign the charge. Returning to the cell, he finds a transmission from Zhenya and cries.

The Stalingrad winter ends. In the spring silence of the forest, a cry is heard about the dead and the furious joy of life.

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The Life and Fate of Grossman in Brief Content