Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 37

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 37
Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 37, is part of The Slavic Literature Pod’s chapter a day read along of Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate. Learn more about our project here.

In the midst of the buzz and excitement of Viktorov’s reserve regiment likely being called up to the front, an uncomfortable and ultimately unresolved moment of antisemitism is litigated within the regiment.

Solomatin, a lieutenant pilot, antagonizes Korol (“Borya”) over the fact that he is Jewish. He insists that Borya must be hoping they are deployed to Berdichev, his “very own Jewish capital,” (p. 167). As we’ve mentioned, Berdichev was both part of The Pale of Settlement and where Grossman was born. Solomatin’s comments towards Korol and his other Jewish comrades both point to insane conspiracy theories and minimize the suffering and oppression of Jewish people from the region.