Olga Berggolts

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(5168) Berggolts, Olga (1910-1975). 1 Poem.

“… i ia ne mogu inache. Liuter” (…And I Cannot Otherwise. Fight.)

Original typescript, 1st copy. 1 looseleaf sheet printed recto-verso. 28,5cm. An exceedingly rare example of a provincial samizdat from the same origin of Belagorsk and dated 1968.

Bergholz enduring legacy has been on her work on the Leningrad radio during the city’s blockade, when she became the symbol of the city’s strength and determination.
Prior to the war Berggolts had considerable problems with the Communist Party. While she had originally signed up as an ardent activist for the cause she was expelled from the party, tortured and jailed by the NKVD for ‘unreliability’ and seen her father and first husband exiled to Siberia. She stayed faithful to all of her communist ideals throughout every ordeal which led to her much documented appropriation of the sole working radio in Leningrad.
After the siege and the end of the war her popularity endured; when in 1957 the Mining poets invited Berggolts as opposed to Akhmatova as the leading older female poet it was because Berggolts was one of them, approachable, unaristocratic and someone who told the truth about the desperate chaos of living in the Soviet World. Her post-war publications stayed provocative and often returned to the subject of the war. Her position as a truth-teller in a Soviet world of censored media led to her texts being circulated in samizdat and published abroad where the texts were scoured for oblique references to the Gulag and Soviet curtailment of freedom as much as for their artistic merit.
Fortunately for Berggolts she lived to be honoured by the State and she was publicly known for her “patriotic” poetry. Clandestinely she was honoured as one of the few of the true dissidents of the Soviet machine who, if it were not for unwittingly becoming a public Soviet hero, would have surely have suffered the same familiar and horrific fate as so many others knew.

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