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Last witnesses : an oral history of the children of World War II / Svetlana Alexievich ; translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.


"Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive style, Last Witnesses is Svetlana Alexievich's collection of the memories of those who were children during World War II. These men and women were both witnesses and sometimes soldiers as well, and their generation grew up with the trauma of the war deeply embedded in them--a trauma that would forever change the course of the Russian nation. This is a new version of the war we're so familiar with. Alexievich gives voice to those whose stories are lost in the official narratives, creating a powerful alternative history from the personal and private experiences of individuals. Collectively, these voices provide a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human consequences of the war"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780399588754
  • ISBN: 0399588752
  • Physical Description: xii, 295 pages ; 25 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Random House, [2019]

Content descriptions

Formatted Contents Note:
He was afraid to look back... -- My first and last cigarette... -- Grandma prayed... -- She asked that my soul come back... -- They lay pink on the cinders... -- I still want my mama... -- Such pretty German toys... -- A handful of salt... -- All that was left of our house... -- He was afraid to look back -- My first and last cigarette -- Grandma prayed, she asked that my soul come back -- They lay pink on the cinders -- I still want my mama -- Such pretty German toys -- A handful of salt, all that was left of our house -- And I kissed all the portraits in my schoolbook... -- I gathered them with my hands, They were very white... -- I want to live! I want to live!... -- Through a buttonhole... -- All I heard was mama's cry... -- We played, and the soldiers wept... -- In the cemetery the dead lay above ground... -- as if they'd been killed again... -- I realized -- this was my father... -- My knees trembled... -- Close your eyes, sonny... -- Don't look... -- My little brother cries, because he wasn't there when papa was there... -- That girl was the first to come... -- I'm your mama... -- We ask: can we lick it?... -- extra half-spoon of sugar -- Dear house, don't burn! Dear house, don't burn!... -- She came in a white smock, like mama... -- Auntie, take me on your knees... -- ...and began to rock her like a doll -- They had already bought me a primer... -- ...neither suitors nor soldiers... -- If only one son could be left... -- He wiped his tears with his sleeve... -- He hung on the string like a baby... -- You'll be my children now... -- We kissed their hands... -- I looked at them with a little girl's eyes... -- Our mama didn't smile... -- I couldn't get used to my name... -- His army shirt was wet... -- As if she had saved his own daughter... -- They carried me to the unit in their arms... -- I was all one bruise from head to foot... -- And why am I so small?... -- They were drawn by the human scent... -- Why did they shoot her in the face? My mama was so beautiful... -- You asked me to finish you off... -- And I didn't even have a scarf on... -- No one to play outside with... -- I'll open the window at night... -- And give the pages to the wind... -- Dig here... -- Grandpa was buried under the window... -- ...And they tamped it down with the shovels, so it looked pretty I'll buy myself a dress with a little bow... -- How did he die, if there was no shooting today?... -- Because we're girls, and he's a boy... -- You're no brothers of mine, if you play with German boys... -- We even forgot that word... -- You should go to the front, and you fall in love with my mama... -- In the last moments they shouted their names... -- All four of us pulled that sledge... -- These two boys became light as sparrows... -- I was embarrassed to be wearing girl's shoes... -- I screamed and screamed... -- I couldn't stop... -- We all joined hands... -- We didn't even know how to bury... -- But now we somehow recollected it... -- He gathered them in a blanket... -- They took the kittens out of the cottage... -- Remember: 6 Park Street, Mariupol... -- I heard his heart stop... -- I ran away to the front following my sister, First Sergeant Vera Redkina... -- In the direction of the sunrise... -- A white shirt shines far off in the dark... -- On the clean floor that I had just washed... -- Did God watch this? And what did He think?... -- The wide world is wondrous... -- They brought long, thin candy... -- It looked like pencils... -- The little trunk was just his size... -- I was afraid of that dream... -- I wanted to be mama's only child... -- so she could pamper me... -- But, like rubber balls, they didn't sink... -- I remember the blue, blue sky... -- and our planes in that sky... -- Like ripe pumpkins... -- We ate... -- the park... -- Whoever cries will be shot... -- Dear mama and dear papa -- golden words... -- They brought her back in pieces... -- The chicks had just hatched... -- I was afraid they'd be killed... -- King of clubs... -- king of diamonds... -- A big family photograph... -- At least let me pour some little potatoes in your pockets... -- A is for Apple, B is for Ball... -- He gave me an Astrakhan hat with a red ribbon... -- And I fired into the air... -- My mother carried me to first grade in her arms... -- My dear dog, forgive me... -- My dear dog, forgive me... -- And she ran away: 'That's not my daughter! Not mi-i-ine!' -- Were we really children? We were men and women... -- Don't give some stranger papa's suit... -- At night I cried: where is my cheerful mama?... -- He won't let me fly away... -- Everybody wanted to kiss the word 'Victory'... -- Wearing a shirt made from my father's army shirt... -- I decorated it with red carnations... -- I waited a long time for my father... -- All my life... -- At that limit... that brink....
Language Note:
Translated from the Russian.
Subject: World War, 1939-1945 > Children > Soviet Union.
World War, 1939-1945 > Personal narratives, Soviet.
HISTORY / World.
World War (1939-1945)
Soviet Union.
World War, 1939-1945 > Children.
World War, 1939-1945.
Genre: Personal narratives.
Personal narratives > Soviet.
Personal narratives.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library System. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Public Library.


  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Homer Public Library 940.534709253 ALE (Text) 000152779 Nonfiction Available -

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