An Anti-Communist on the Eastern Front
The Memoirs of a Russian Officer in the Spanish Blue Division 1941-1942
by Vladímir Kovalevski
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Pub Date 30 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 11 Jan 2023
Pen & Sword, Pen & Sword Military
Vladimir Kovalevskii’s memoirs record in graphic detail a remarkable military career. As a soldier, a committed anti-communist and Russian patriot he saw from the inside a series of conflicts that ravaged Europe in the first half of the twentieth century.
In the First World War he fought the Germans, as a White Russian he opposed the Bolsheviks. He joined the French Foreign Legion and served in Africa before fighting for Franco in the Spanish Civil War and for Hitler in the Spanish Blue Division on the Eastern Front in the Second World War.
His memoirs give a vivid insight into the armies he fought with and the causes he fought for – and they show how eventually the mental toll became so great that he was devoured by his own contradictions and the contradictions of his times.
His experiences on the Eastern Front during the Second World War were shocking. He hoped the German campaign in the Soviet Union would liberate the Russian people, but after witnessing the grim suffering inflicted on the civilian population by a brutal occupying army he was deeply disillusioned and tormented by a sense of guilt.
In the late 1940s, in order to make sense of his life as a soldier and to document the extraordinary sights he’d seen, he wrote these memoirs in Russian. They were buried in an archive for over seventy years, but they have now been edited, annotated and translated for this first English edition.