Book review: Memoirs of a Wartime Interpreter

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08 August 2019
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If you enjoyed last month’s magazine then look out for this, the wartime memoirs of Yelena Rzhevskaya who served as a military interpreter for the Red Army.

Author: Yelena Rzhevskaya

Reviewed by: Duncan Evans

 

Buy your copy here.

 

If you enjoyed last month’s magazine then look out for this, the wartime memoirs of Yelena Rzhevskaya who served as a military interpreter for the Red Army. She was with them when they broke into Hitler’s bunker, found the charred remains of the Führer, Martin Bormann’s notes, the letters of Magda Goebbels and the diaries of Josef Goebbels. Astonishingly, she was given possession of Hitler’s teeth and tracked down his dentist’s assistant and dental technician to verify whose they were. In the role of interpreter Yelena was given access to important documents and witnessed first hand the Soviet treatment of the German public.

 

The book, however, starts in Moscow, in 1941, before tackling the German invasion and Red Army recovery in 1942-43. Then it’s on to Berlin in 1945, which is great reading. A follow up is Yelena’s conversation with Zhukov in 1965, but it’s the fall of Berlin that’s the part you can’t put down, even if it is obviously very much from a Soviet perspective.

 

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• Greenhill Books

 

• ISBN 978-1-7843-8281-0

 

• 334 pages. Hardback. £24.99

 

 

As reviewed in The Armourer September 2019

 

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