Род. в 1968 г. в Оренбурге. По первому образованию – германист, второе – коммерсант оптовой и внешней торговли – получил в Германии, где работал с 1992 по 1995 гг., впоследствии возглавлял управление международных связей администрации города Оренбурга (1996-2000). С декабря 2000 года являюсь президентом созданного мною Оренбургского благотворительного фонда «Евразия».
Член Союза журналистов России с 1998 года, в 2001 году проходил практику в берлинской редакции «Франкфуртер альгемейне цайтунг», печатался там, а также в российских изданиях «Новые известия», «Культура», «Литературная газета», «Московская немецкая газета». С 2014 г. на ГТРК «Оренбург» веду авторскую передачу «Наши люди».
Член Союза переводчиков России с 2001 года, с 2005 года несколько созывов подряд избирался членом и секретарем российского правления этого творческого союза. В моем переводе с немецкого вышли романы Клауса Манна «Благочестивый танец», Зигфрида Ленца «Наследие Арне», рассказы Стефана Гейма «Жены всегда исчезают / Мужья всегда виноваты», протоколы допросов героя немецкого Сопротивления А. Шмореля в гестапо.
Кандидат исторических наук с 2005 года. Автор биографии А. Шмореля «Русская душа «Белой розы», дважды переиздававшейся в России. Являюсь единственным зарубежным членом мюнхенского фонда «Белая роза» и членом международного общества Стефана Гейма.
I was born in 1968 in Orenburg/Russia. My first speciality was Germanic studies, my second degree was in wholesale and external commerce. The latter education I got in Germany where I worked from 1992 to 1994. Later I worked as the Head of the Department for External Relations of Orenburg City Administration (from 1994 to 2000). From December, 2000 I am the President of Orenburg Charity Foundation “Eurasia” which was established with my colleques.
In 1998 I joined the Union of Journalists of Russia. In 2001 I undertook internship in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung where I had published my works as well as in Russian periodicals Novye Izvestia, Kultura, Literaturnaya Gazeta, and Moskauer Deutsche Zeitung. From 2014 I have my own program Our People which is broadcasted by the Orenburg Brunch of Russia-1 Channel.
In 2001 I joined the Union of Translators of Russia, from 2005 I had been elected for a number of cadencies a member of the Board and a Secretary of this creative union. A number of editions translated by me from German to Russian were issued: novel Der fromme Tanz by K. Mann, novel Arnes Nachlass by S.Lenz, short stories Immer sind die Weiber weg und andere Weisheiten / Immer sind die Männer schuld by S. Heym, and the records of Gestapo interrogation of Alexander Schmorell, a hero of German Resistance. In 2005 I presented my Ph.D thesis in historical studies.
I am the author of A. Schmorell’s biography entitled “The Russian Soul of the White Rose” which was issued twice in Russian. I am the only foreign member of the “White Rose” Munich Foundation and a member of Stefan Heym International Association.
Отрывок из произведения «Русская душа «Белой розы»»
The second trial of the “White rose” case was followed by the third, fourth, fifth ones. Altogether 29 persons were convicted. More dozens, if not hundreds, of people spent a long time in investigatory prisons. But the seeds sown by the “White rose” did not perish on the brick and concrete ruins of German cities, destroyed by the lethal breath of the war which had emerged here, in Germany. Those seeds were scooped by the wind of freedom and carried throughout the world. Part of them landed on favorable soil. The text of the sixth leaflet reached Great Britain through the Scandinavian Resistance. The trials of the People’s court were still going on, with Freisler still raging, still spitting out new indictment venom, and the “White rose” text accompanied by a small comment and the heading “Manifesto of Munich students” was already printed in huge number of copies. In July 1943 thousands of these leaflets were dropped by the Royal air force planes over major cities of the “great and indestructible” Third Reich.
Soldiers and officers who were taken prisoners at the East front, united within the National council of “Free Germany”, they called – as the Soviet authorities allowed them — on their comrades beyond the front-line to cease hostilities. And they were struck, as they learned about the Munich students’ exploit. “Lower your banners over the fresh graves of the fighters for Germany’s freedom and independence” – this was the heading of their leaflet telling about unprecedented courage of the young people, who stood up against Nazi terror, Goebbels’s lie campaign, against conscious extermination of the German and dozens of other nations in this war — senseless in its essence and horrible in its scale.
Years passed. With the end of the World war II the surviving prisoners who had been convicted within the “White rose” case obtained freedom. What was the attitude toward them, their executed comrades of their neighbors, colleagues at work, familiar shop assistants? Were the Resistance activists perceived by the people around as heroes or, subconsciously, still as traitors who assisted the enemy and thus were accomplices in crushing a prosperous state? A complicated question. It still took quite a few years to make the history of the “White rose” be perceived in the conscience of all Germans as a symbol of freedom of thought and civic courage. The book by Inge Scholl, Sophie’s and Hans’s sister, narrated about the “White rose” to millions of readers – subjectively, in its way, but it is only after its publication, that the memory of the young people was begun to be honored. Not only in Germany, but in many countries of the world. In most cases – sincerely, in some places – officiously, pompously. But now there is no city or town in Germany which does not have a street, a square or a park named after the “White rose” or someone who was its member. Munich has a Schmorell-Platz — square, not far from the house – which was not preserved – of his parents in Menterschweige. Alexander’s relatives were against it, but the city council decided to perpetuate so the memory of one of the founders of the “White rose”.
In 1987 the families and relatives of the executed heroes established a foundation named after the “White rose”, which is engaged in popularizing the history of the students’ Resistance, propagating among the contemporary youth the ideas which inspired their coevals in the years of the World War II. Erich and Natasha Schmorell did not join the foundation then. Yes, from time to time Erich gave talks at schools, museums of Germany which invited him, but he did it more as an imposed obligation – people asked him to tell about his brother… The family which was innately alien to any ideological dogmas, did not wish to create an ”idol”. They wanted Alexander, Alex, Schurik to be remembered as a brother, a human being and not as a national hero. It is only the Schmorells who did not publish their interviews, reminiscences, photo albums about Alexander. The collection of his letters, translated into German, thoroughly typed and bound is kept in their private archives.
It is surprising, but the exhibition of the Munich “White rose” foundation , translated into several foreign languages and displayed simultaneously in various cities o Europe and America, a feature film shot by the renowned German director Michael Verhoeven and an opera with the same title by the outstanding composer Udo Zimmermann might have been touring far away from Russia, if Erich Schmorell with his wife Herta had not visited in June 1999 the motherland of their ancestors. A week spent in Orenburg, getting to know the city, which was so much talked and read about during all those decades, sharpened their feelings, brushed up in their memory the images of the past.
I can’t forget that moment, when the guest of Orenburg, as we drove up to the sign which symbolizes the border between Europe and Asia, located on the bank of the Ural river, suddenly rushed not to that tourist sight, but down toward the water. Erich’s face, who immersed his hands into the Ural’s water, irradiated such happiness, as though his most cherished dream had come true. Maybe it was indeed a secret hope of his, kept deep in some subconscious corner of his mind? Visiting the State archives of the Orenburg region, touching a document, signed by his mother’s hand, impressed our guest from Munich much more, than the original of the “Privilege to the city of Orenburg” with the signature of the empress Anna Ioanovna, kindly exhibited by the archive’s director. And wasn’t it exciting for Erich to visit the brewery which had belonged to his grandfather and the street where the Schmorells’ house had stood before.
In the fall of 1999 the exhibition tour throughout Russia – “The White rose” — students’ Resistance to Hitler’s regime. Munich, 1942-43.” started with Orenburg. This exhibition – like the English, German, French, Italian ones — tells about the friends united by mutual deal, about our fellow countryman Alexander Schmorell, about his love of Russia. Within ten years this exhibition has become a discovery for thousands of people in Smolensk and Ulan-Ude, Kazan and Omsk, Moscow and St-Petersburg, Minsk, Kiev and other cities. It aroused special feelings in visitors on the Gzhatsk soil. The collaborators of the Gagarin memorial museum still haven’t given up hope to find out the destiny of that aforementioned Valya, Zina, “aunt Natasha”. How did Nelly’s destiny turn who had not received the last letter from Alexander? Thanks to the coverage of the tour by central mass media, Schmorells’ descendants were found who still live in Russia now.
In 2000 the destiny brought together the famous Russian film director Savva Kulish and the prior of the Russian orthodox church in Munich father Nikolay. Kulish heard from the priest the life story of Alexander, whose canonization in Germany was initiated by the Russian orthodox church abroad and whose image was already depicted on an icon at the Munich cathedral of Russian saint martyrs. After that Kulish arranged to meet Erich Schmorell. Following that conversation, as the director told himself, he just could not resist shooting a new documentary “In the quest of the “White rose”. Thousands of people have already seen and many will see this wonderful, sincere film.
Alexander wanted to be buried in Russian soil. His dream came true more than a half century later. During Erich’s first visit in Orenburg the prior of St Dimitrius church father Alexander in a solemn and very touching atmosphere sanctified Orenburg soil and handed it over to the Schmorells. Delivered with all care to Munich and laid in full compliance with orthodox rites on Alexander’s tomb, it appeased our fellow countryman’s soul. And on 16 September 2007 for the first time in postwar history Alexander’s birthday – his 90th anniversary – was celebrated in Orenburg, on this occasion the Mayor of Orenburg held a reception for the large delegation which arrived from Germany and the USA. And there was also a requiem service at St Nicholas cathedral held by Archbishop of Berlin and Germany Mark. And there was so much talking and reminiscing, because among foreign guests there was Alex’s friend Nikolay Danilovitch Hamasaspyan. Maybe, that was all so little, that we, Russians, could do for our fellow countryman. And the memory… well, it lives on. Not in monuments and the streets’ names, but in the hearts of those people who know that once upon a time there lived such a lad with a Russian soul, Alexander Schmorell, who loved very much his motherland and valued this love more than his own life.