Berlin Diaries, 1940-1945 (Magill's Literary Annual 1988)
Marie ldquo;Missie” Vassiltchikov was, to use one of Adolf Hitler’s favorite epithets, a rootless cosmopolitan. She was born into an aristocratic Russian family just months before the Russian Revolution in 1917. Her family fled the Bolsheviks in 1919 and wandered from Germany to France, where she went to school, and then to Lithuania, where they owned property. In the summer of 1939, Vassiltchikov and her sister Tatiana, visited family friends in Silesia and were still there when the Nazi-Soviet pact of August 23, 1939, suddenly threatened the independence of Lithuania and opened the door to the joint Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland. Under these circumstances, it was not advisable for White Russians to return to Lithuania, and Missie and Tatiana decided to move to Berlin in search of work. It was at this time that Missie began writing her diary. Her ability to speak Russian, French, English, and German landed her a job, first at the German broadcasting service, and then with the foreign ministry’s information service. There she became intimate with some foreign office members of the conspiracy against Hitler which culminated in the attempt to kill him on July 20, 1944. Loyalty to the conspirators held her in Berlin, where she endured some of the worst bombing of the war, until September, 1944. She then moved to Vienna and endured more bombing raids, barely escaping the advancing Soviets at the war’s end.
The diary is not complete. Wartime...
(The entire section is 2470 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1988)
Booklist. LXXXIII, April 15, 1987, p. 1247.
Kirkus Reviews. LV, January 15, 1987, p. 121.
Library Journal. CXI, February 15, 1987, p. 143.
National Review. XXXIX, February 27, 1987, p. 48.
The New York Review of Books. XXXIV, April 9, 1987, p. 7.
The New York Times Book Review. XCII, April 5, 1987, p. 6.
The New Yorker. LXIII, May 25, 1987, p. 113.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXI, January 16, 1987, p. 66.
Time. CXXIX, April 13, 1987, p. 75.
The Times Literary Supplement. July 18, 1986, p. 777.
The Washington Post Book World. XVII, March 29, 1987, p. 1.
(The entire section is 66 words.)