Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 45

This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 45, 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.

If you have ever stood atop the precipice of an indelible moment — the seconds before a relationship-ending conversation or a text telling you, “she’s dead”  — you may know the peculiar silence of mind that comes with it. 

In a few, brief paragraphs we follow Musya Borisovna, the librarian, as she watches soldiers approach the ghetto. Presumably they are there to separate the skilled workers from those who will be forced into the cattle cars. 

As Borisovna stares quietly, she watches “as sub-units of the SS and SD, detachments of Ukrainian police, auxiliary units and a column of cars belonging to the Gestapo drew up at the gates of the sleeping ghetto. In these few minutes of moonlight she took the measure of the history of our age.” (p. 203)