Tatyana’s War

Escape and Survival on the Eastern Front in World War II

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About the Book

When Nazi troops invaded her home of Donetsk, Ukraine, Tatyana Artemyeff, a 27-year-old teacher, was left on her own to save her two children and mother when her conscripted husband’s unit retreated from the city. Luckily, she spoke German, and she was determined to find a way to survive the brutal occupation and keep her family from dying of starvation or facing execution.
Decades later, when Tatyana’s daughter found her diaries in a Connecticut attic, she discovered a unique account of life as a teacher in the Stalinist Soviet Union, the 1941 Nazi invasion of Donetsk, her survival under Nazi occupation, and her harrowing escape to the West. Told from the perspective of her daughter, Helen, this book switches seamlessly between the first-person account of life and death and the immigrant story of her American-born daughter.

About the Author(s)

Born in Brooklyn, New York, of émigré parents who came to the U.S. as displaced persons after World War II, Helen Charov grew up in Sea Cliff, a village on Long Island’s north shore. After graduating from New York University, she traveled extensively throughout the USSR with a U.S. government exhibit. She lives in a small town in southeastern Connecticut, in the very house whose attic stowed the suitcase that kept her mother’s journal hidden for more than 30 years.

Bibliographic Details

Helen Charov and Tatyana Artemyeff
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 40 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9310-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5142-2
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

“Words fail me as I try to describe this distinctly powerful book. Page by page, translating every word of her mother’s journals, the author learns of the horrors and joys of her life, and we join her on that long road. Birth as the Russian revolution was just starting, a childhood under Stalin, terror, starvation, escape west through Ukraine into Germany during World War II, a final transition into America, and the raising of her own four children. The story is told from the present, with deep dives into the past, interweaving different worlds, documenting a life of exile, and an inability to let go of the magic of an imaginary Russia. The experience is so personalized that you feel as if you are living through it with her. You will not be able to put it down!”—Tania Romanov, author of One Hundred Years of Exile: A Romanov’s Search for Her Father’s Russia