A Countess in Limbo

A Countess in Limbo

Diaries in War & Revolution : Russia 1914-1920, France 1939-1947

Book - 2012
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On the eve of her wedding in 1914 came the first rumours of an impending war-- a war that would change Countess Olga "Lala" Hendrikoff's life forever and force her to flee her country as a stateless person, with no country to call home. Spanning two of the most turbulent times in modern history-- World War I in Russia and World War II in Paris-- her journals demonstrate the uncertainty, horror and hope of daily life in the midst of turmoil.
Publisher: Vancouver : Inkflight, 2012
ISBN: 9781926606798
9781926606781
Branch Call Number: BIO Hendrikoff HEN
Characteristics: 458 p. :,ill., maps ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Zilberov, Evgeny
Ranson, Maureen

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g
gloryb
Jul 31, 2018

I enjoyed reading the diary entries of a female aristocratic Russian emigre who had fled Russia in her early twenties during the Russian Revolution to live in Paris among other Russian nationals like herself. She describes the lifestyle of her friends and relatives and contrasts that with herself who is unmarried and needs to work. I found her accounts of living in Paris during WWII to be particularly interesting as she describes the influx of the Belgians arriving on foot in the French countryside where she was staying, to the German Occupation, to the Liberation forces, to life in Paris in the immediate post war years, and eventually to her decision to leave Paris for Philadelphia to live with a relative. The diary entries are full of details of how she survived during those years, her work, the people she worked for, everyday incidents, the difficulty of getting food in the city but available on the black market and in the countryside, her views and those of her friends about returning to Russia, and communication with family members who were spread out Europe. It didn't bother me that the names she mentions in her diary entries were unknown to me. Quite a few footnotes provide explanatory information and a fly leaf shows her family tree to refer to in order to see the family connections. The diary,written in French and Russian, came to light after her death in Alberta where she moved to be with another family member. The translation is excellent. The whole book consists of diary entries. An engrossing read.

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