By the end of 1942, 1.4 million Jews had been killed by the Einsatzgruppen that followed the German army eastward; by the end of the war, nearly two million had been murdered in Russia and Eastern Europe. Of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, about one-third fell in the territories of the USSR. The single most important text documenting that slaughter is The Black Book, compiled by two renowned Russian authors Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman. Until now, The Black Book was only available in English in truncated editions. Because of its profound significance, this new and definitive English translation of The Complete Black Book of Russian Jewry is a major literary and intellectual event.
From the time of the outbreak of the war, Ehrenburg and Grossman collected the eyewitness testimonies that went into The Black Book. As early as 1943 they were planning its publication; the first edition appeared in 1944. During the years immediately after the war, Grossman assisted Ehrenburg in compiling additional materials for a second edition, which appeared in 1946 (in English as well as Russian).
Since the fall of the Soviet regime, Irina Ehrenburg, the daughter of Ilya Ehrenburg, has recovered the lost portions of the manuscript sent to Yad Vashem. The texts recove
Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova have taken Grossman's raw notebooks, and fashioned them into a gripping narrative providing one of the most even-handed descriptions --at once unflinching and sensitive -- we have ever had of what Grossman called “the ruthless truth of war.”
From the Trade Paperback edition.