Berlin: Fremdsprachendienst-Verlags-G.m.b.H., 1941. Item #1629
#11 of 1941. 12 pp.: ill. 46x31,5 cm. Crease in the middle, minor foxing. Otherwise good.
Extremely scarce. 1 issue from 18 published.
By the late 1930s, Germany was home to over 50,000 Russian emigres who left their homeland shortly after the October Revolution. During the Great Patriotic War, Russian expatriates in Nazi Germany were faced with a choice between supporting the Soviet Union or the German power. This magazine was the voice of those Russian emigres who decided to back the Nazi regime. The periodical's editor was Vladimir Despotuli (1885-1977), a Russian journalist and publisher who served as an adjutant lieutenant under general Nikolay Baratov during World War I. After the Bolsheviks prevailed, he settled in Germany and initiated the Russian-language newspaper Novoye Slovo [i.e. New Word]. The periodical was funded by the Nazi party’s foreign affairs office and featured anti-Semitic and anti-Soviet articles. In 1943, two years after Despotuli became the editor of the Novaya zhizn’ magazine, he was arrested by the Gestapo under suspicion of dealings with English spy networks and placed under house arrest. Following the defeat of the Germans, he was incarcerated by the Red Army and sent to a Gulag prison for 11 years.
This issue was published on November 12, 1941. By then, the Nazis had already occupied Byelorussia, the Baltic territories, and major parts of Ukraine and Moldavia. The Wehrmacht had blockaded the city of Leningrad, and the Battle of Moscow was underway. Against this background, the issue is imbued with optimism and confidence in the upcoming victory of the Nazis.
The issue features anti-Soviet political articles, short stories, anecdotes, and fairy tales for children. Among the authors of the texts are the following Russian emigre writers: N. Ryazantsev, Ilya Surguchev, Evgeny Tarussky, etc. Less than four years after this issue came out, Tarussky committed suicide in a POW camp in Austria out of fear of being extradited to the NKVD. The magazine includes numerous black and white photographs and photomontages showing the Nazis and the territories they had conquered by 1941, Nazi soldiers during their leisure time and work, shrines desecrated by the Bolsheviks in the city of Pskov (occupied by the Nazis in 1941), etc. An important part of the material presented in this issue (both textual and illustrative) is intended to play upon the religious sentiments of readers. The core component of anti-Stalinist propaganda abroad – Soviet atheism – is condemned through a number of photographs and such notes as: ‘Bolshevik sacrilege: the destroyed Orthodox church’, ‘Farther and farther to the East, the muddy wave of Bolshevism recedes, leaving behind Orthodox churches destroyed by the atheists’, etc. The issue also features cartoons deriding Soviet authorities, including Stalin and Lenin. The illustrations were mostly created by V. Belkin, El’pe, etc. The front wrapper shows a Nazi soldier and the ruins of a church destroyed by the Bolsheviks.
Overall, an interesting piece of anti-Soviet propaganda.
Worldcat locates one copy of the issue at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.