For a brief time in 1944, American playwright Lillian Hellman (1905 – 1984) was in the Soviet Union as a guest artist of VOKS, the Soviet agency that supervised all cultural exchanges with foreigners from the West. Having leftist sympathies, she was impressed with much of what she saw in war-torn Russia and she penned this account of the Nazi retreat:
"I watched these soldiers and listened to their voices and thought again that one of the most remarkable of Russian qualities is their ability to speak about war, death, love, and hate without self-consciousness and without fake toughness; they speak simply, like healthy people who have never learned to be ashamed of emotion."
Click here to read about the siege of Lenningrad.
Click here to read a 1939 STAGE MAGAZINE profile of this writer.