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Red Partisan: The Memoir of a Soviet Resistance Fighter on the Eastern Front

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The epic World War II battles between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union are the subject of a vast literature, but little has been published in English on the experiences of ordinary Soviets—civilians and soldiers—who were sucked into a bitter conflict that marked their lives forever. Their struggle for survival, and their resistance to the invaders’ brutality in the occupi The epic World War II battles between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union are the subject of a vast literature, but little has been published in English on the experiences of ordinary Soviets—civilians and soldiers—who were sucked into a bitter conflict that marked their lives forever. Their struggle for survival, and their resistance to the invaders’ brutality in the occupied territories, is one of the great untold stories of the war. This is why Nikolai Obryn’ba’s unforgettable, intimate memoir is so valuable. Written late in the author’s life, it tells of Operation Barbarossa, during which he was taken prisoner; the horrors of SS prison camps; his escape; his war fighting behind German lines as a partisan; and the world of suffering and tragedy around him. His perceptive, uncompromising account lays bare the everyday reality of war on the Eastern Front.


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The epic World War II battles between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union are the subject of a vast literature, but little has been published in English on the experiences of ordinary Soviets—civilians and soldiers—who were sucked into a bitter conflict that marked their lives forever. Their struggle for survival, and their resistance to the invaders’ brutality in the occupi The epic World War II battles between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union are the subject of a vast literature, but little has been published in English on the experiences of ordinary Soviets—civilians and soldiers—who were sucked into a bitter conflict that marked their lives forever. Their struggle for survival, and their resistance to the invaders’ brutality in the occupied territories, is one of the great untold stories of the war. This is why Nikolai Obryn’ba’s unforgettable, intimate memoir is so valuable. Written late in the author’s life, it tells of Operation Barbarossa, during which he was taken prisoner; the horrors of SS prison camps; his escape; his war fighting behind German lines as a partisan; and the world of suffering and tragedy around him. His perceptive, uncompromising account lays bare the everyday reality of war on the Eastern Front.

44 review for Red Partisan: The Memoir of a Soviet Resistance Fighter on the Eastern Front

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jens

    This is the story of a man who survived against all odds. Nikolai was captured shortly after his first engagement with the enemy whilst serving in the Opolcheniye (Home guard). What followed was inhuman treatment in transit camps. You can't help but to sympathize with a man who at the beginning of the story was planning a vacation with his wife and child, only to be caught off guard by the inexorable advance of the third reich. "For many citizens of Moscow 22th of June 1941 remains a date no one This is the story of a man who survived against all odds. Nikolai was captured shortly after his first engagement with the enemy whilst serving in the Opolcheniye (Home guard). What followed was inhuman treatment in transit camps. You can't help but to sympathize with a man who at the beginning of the story was planning a vacation with his wife and child, only to be caught off guard by the inexorable advance of the third reich. "For many citizens of Moscow 22th of June 1941 remains a date no one would forget. Suddenly on a bright summer morning the declaration of war caught everyone unawares, dreams was crushed and fates were sealed." (excuse my poor translation). Despite the various unpleasant and downright horrifying sights of war there is small flickers of light in the darkness. On a day of particular hardship when Nikolai and his fellow soldiers marched to one of the camps, our storyteller stumbles upon a burnt down library. What he picks up is a leather bound copy of War And Peace, and would you believe it if i said Tolstoy ended up saving his life? Relief from hardships in captivity as described by Nikolai are few and far between, but the intimate narrative allows the reader to view everything through him, and ultimately share in his pain and on rare occasions moments that transforms mundane existence into something heart-wrenchingly beautiful. The book also raise a important moral question "could i truly take another mans life?": Before the outbreak of the war Nikolai thought it morally impossible to take another mans life. This would change right after his first engagement with the enemy, he realized if he must kill he will do so without hesitation. Arriving at this conclusion was not easy for it involved rebuilding his whole being into something unrecognizable. Life in captivity wouldn't last forever. With his friends he decided to escape. What happened thereafter is for you to find out. I urge everyone to pick up this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Grace

    I found this book very readable and interesting. The first important thing is this book is not just about the author as a Partisan. A good half the book is about his enlistment in the Red Army, his capture, and then life as a POW. This is very graphic at times and a fully believable account of life as a German POW. The second half shows his time as a Partisan in Belorus. There are some amazing tales in this book and pictures of his life. Onviously I cannot account for how true they are but it is I found this book very readable and interesting. The first important thing is this book is not just about the author as a Partisan. A good half the book is about his enlistment in the Red Army, his capture, and then life as a POW. This is very graphic at times and a fully believable account of life as a German POW. The second half shows his time as a Partisan in Belorus. There are some amazing tales in this book and pictures of his life. Onviously I cannot account for how true they are but it is highly possible it is all true. This is a book that anyone with an interest on the Eastern Front will enjoy. My only crtical point of this review is how sudden the book ends.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kriegslok

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Red Partisan: The Memoir of a Soviet Resistance Fighter on the Eastern Front This is an outstanding and very moving account of the life of a Red Partisan on the brutal Eastern Front. What makes this is the very human telling of the story, the minutely observed detail and the emotional challenges that added to the physical challenges of survival in some of the harshest conditions. The Second World War was essentially fought and won by the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front with the assistance of s Red Partisan: The Memoir of a Soviet Resistance Fighter on the Eastern Front This is an outstanding and very moving account of the life of a Red Partisan on the brutal Eastern Front. What makes this is the very human telling of the story, the minutely observed detail and the emotional challenges that added to the physical challenges of survival in some of the harshest conditions. The Second World War was essentially fought and won by the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front with the assistance of some material aid from the western allies. The initial days of Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, were a disaster for the USSR and a victory for Hitler. Stalin sat impotent in his Dacha as the Red Army was decimated and as disastrous and cruel orders emanated from Moscow that took no account of the situation on the ground. Nikolai I. Obryn'ba was one of the hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops who fell victim to the onslaught. His one experience as a Red Army volunteer of charging into attack the enemy to cries of “For Stalin and Motherland” ended in farce. He puts much of the early failure of the defenders down to being morally unprepared for the demands of war and that the hardening to kill took time. After days of confusion and attempts to break through enemy lines back towards Moscow he and thousands of other Soviet troops were taken prisoner. His description of the cruelty of the Nazi's as they set about ensuring the deaths of many of those taken prisoner is graphic. In the opening months of the war on the Eastern Front the Nazis murdered almost three million Soviet prisoners-of-war through deliberate starvation, exposure to the elements and execution. Nikolai survived this initial terror against all the odds together with a small group of comrades. Interned in a prison camp his skills as an artist won him privileges that helped keep him and his friends alive long enough to escape. During this time the line between friend and foe is tested and Nikolai is not afraid to record the treachery of some fellow citizens nor the bravery and sacrifices of certain members of the enemy towards their captives. Nikolai himself was engaged by the camp resistance in producing forged documents to aid escapees, a highly risky occupation. Eventually escaping as part of a large break-out (despite betrayal by one of their number) Nikolai and most of his comrades made contact with the Partisans who were by now an established fighting force controlling significant territory in Belorussia and were sabotaging German supplies as they passed through the area heading to or from the front and engaging German units in battle. The Partisans had formed naturally and were reliant upon what they could procure or make themselves as Russia reeled under the onslaught. Once again Nikolai found his talents as an artist in demand not only for the production of propaganda, forging documents, copying maps but also recording Partisan life and the war crimes of the enemy. While this kept him busy so did the physical fighting. Operating as a scout he reconnoitred areas, interrogated traitors and perhaps most difficultly executed them. As he states “We had to act, to unite the people around us, to instil faith in our victory. We had to punish traitors so others would not follow their example. The whole purpose of the of executions was to show the enemy and their informers that the Soviet authorities were close and would call treachery to account.” The Partisan resistance grew into a massive operation controlling vast tracts of land, they operated a small power station, ran armouries and laid some 300km of communications using cable stolen from the Nazis. One of the last orders Nikolai undertook before being called from the front to Moscow was the construction of an airstrip. In closing he notes the paradox that the comradeship and camaraderie of the Partisans created in that the sense of worth and belonging and struggle which brought everyone so close together was towards the end something that many felt a yearning for and would miss despite the restoration of normal life. Something that Obryn'ba raises but does not dwell upon is the stigma attached to being a former PoW. Despite the fact that many former PoWs escaped internment and distinguished themselves in combat this did not stop them being looked down on and mistrusted by those lucky enough to have remained the right side of the front-line. Indeed in the post-war climate those who had spent time behind enemy lines became a target for a new round of purges and arrest either for cowardice or as suspected spies of the capitalists. In summary this book is a powerful, human and important addition to the understanding of the horrors of life on the Eastern Front in the English language. It also helps keep alive the memory of that whole group of Red Army PoWs, numbering some 3.6 million mudered, the forgotten victims of the Nazi death industry.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hanne (TheBookReader)

    https://thebookreaderblogg.com/2020/0... https://thebookreaderblogg.com/2020/0...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erik

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ola Lygre

  8. 5 out of 5

    oeniadaeowl

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eirik

  10. 4 out of 5

    Trilobyte

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cesar Sanchez

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matt Snyder

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    Shiva Seven

  14. 4 out of 5

    Harvey Smith

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cj

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chino Sison

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    Michael

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    Derk West

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mikal Bragstad Moe

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    John

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    Tessa Lehman

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    Kelsey Freeman

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    Adam Preston

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  36. 4 out of 5

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    Jennifer Jacobs

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    Adam

  42. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  43. 5 out of 5

    Tom Jones

  44. 5 out of 5

    Jackson

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