Life and Fate, a Novel About the Siege of Leningrad, p. 81

That morning I was reminded of what I’d forgotten during the years of the Soviet regime — that I was a Jew. Some Germans drove past on a lorry, shouting out: “Juden kaput!”

I got a further reminder from some of my own neighbors. The caretaker’s wife was standing beneath my window and saying to the woman next door: “Well, that’s the end of the Jews. Thank God for that!” What can have made her say that? Her son’s married to a Jew. She used to go and visit him and then come back and tell me all about her grandchildren.

The woman next door, a widow with a six-year-old daughter — a girl called Alyonushka with wonderful blue eyes, I wrote to you about her once — came round and said to me: “Anna Semyonovna, I’m moving into your room. Can you clear your things out by this evening?” “Very well, I’ll move into your room then.” “No, you’re moving into the little room behind the kitchen.”


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