Memoir literature Bibliography


Deportees from outside the USSR’s 1939 borders have left behind a considerable literature of memory, not only in their own languages but also in Western European languages. When they were released, some went to France, the United Kingdom or the United States and wrote their memoirs in English or French. There were two main waves of writing: immediately after the Second World War and then after the late 1980s, particularly between 1990 and 2000. Many of the early memoir-writers were intellectuals or politicians who wanted to show public opinion the practices of the Soviet purges and saw their work as part of their intellectual and political campaign. Their writings were often looked down on by some contemporaries, who accused them of anti-Soviet propaganda. The books written later were received less sceptically and were written with different purposes. Many of them began to write their memoirs on their retirement, after trying to live a normal life again, even in a foreign country. At that time they had no interest is recounting a painful past. Others decided to speak “before it is too late”, in order to establish or correct history as it was being written.

This room comprises a set of bibliographies compiled by Antonio Ferrara, with lists of the individual testimonies, collections of testimonies and other writings published in English, French and Italian.