As a young boy growing up in Port Elizabeth in the 1960s and 1970s, Steven Robins was haunted by an old postcard-size photograph of three unknown women on a table in the dining room. Only later did he learn that the women were his father’s mother and sisters, photographed in Berlin in 1937, before they were killed in the Holocaust.
This selection from the diaries and letters of the Bulgakovs, mostly translated for the first time into English, provides an insightful glimpse into a fascinating period of Russian history and literature, telling the tragic tale of the fate of an artist under a totalitarian regime.
Aged thirteen when Anne Frank went into the secret annexe, Anne kept a diary in which she confided her innermost thoughts and feelings, movingly revealing how the eight people living under these extraordinary conditions coped with the daily threat of discovery and death, petty misunderstandings and the unbearable strain of living like prisoners.
South Africa has seen a disturbing culture of acquiesce and silence develop after 1994. Such silence is largely driven by patronage and a misplaced sense of loyalty, especially to the ruling party. It is clear that speaking out has been left to a few voices that are seen as having nothing to lose.