The sense of truth

I like to quote a excerpt from the story by Leo Tolstoy’s “Sebastopol in May,” namely the words:

“… the character of my story whom I love with all my heart, whom I tried to reproduce in all his beauty and who always was, is and will be beautiful, is truth.”  These words could be called our commandment when we compiled and edited all the five volumes of “Time to remember”. It worked better or worse for the principle is really hard to follow. Often we unwillingly were not quiet sincere and sounded false ‒ without the slightest intention to lead the reader astray. To weed out bias and “guidelines”, to leave aside “the best intentions” is sometimes next to impossible. Leo Tolstoy in “War and Peace” wrote that all the main concepts are incredibly simple. This is certainly true. But their simplicity is infinitely meaningful and therefore difficult!

Harry Blechman confessed that memory of his hungry childhood didn’t let him leave any food on his plate. Not a bit of it (“Time to remember”, volume 1). What kind of duty made him eat up all of it? Why did he do it? Maybe the facts of bloodcurdling fights for food during the war and the millions of hunger victims can somehow explain it to a young reader.

“I began to die of starvation, day by day I felt weaker…”

Harry survived, grew up, studied and became a scientist. In his story about the past he does not shy away from anything: it was as it was and all his life was affected by it. The sense of truth is what turns these and other memoirs of “Time to remember” into remarkable human documents.

A. K.

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