Gottfried Meinhold: 'What a book!'

"WAR IS WAR - What a book! This is a work of art that merges razor-sharp historical documentation with poetic colouring and warmth, in the face of omnipresent menace. The book is a splendid human testimony with a uniquely powerful design, combining the authenticity of facsimile letters and postcards and perfectly selected bilingual texts, including the single quotes on full-page coloured fields. You absolutely can't put this book away, it will stay within reach, ready pick up and open, again and again, to read and re-read. Nikolay and Tatyana Yassievich's images make an indelible impression! I offer heartfelt congratulations for this artistic achievement. Even the open binding inspires extensive new interpretations and thoughts." 

- Gottfriend Meinhold is a professor of linguistics and author of numerous scientific works, as well as fiction and non-fiction. 

WAR IST WAR - was für ein Buch, ein Kunstwerk, diese Verbindung von zeitgeschichtlicher Scharfkantigkeit und poetischer Farbigkeit und Wärme bei aller Omnipräsenz der Bedrohlichkeit. Ein herrliches menschliches Zeugnis - auch ein einmaliges bibliophiles Pänomen, diese Textgestalt mit der Authentizität der faksmilierten Post, den zweisprachig präsentierten Texten - die Auswahl optimal, auch die der kurzen Zitatsätze auf dem farbigen Grund. Es ist ganz ausgeschlossen, das Buch in ein Regal zu stellen, es bleibt in Reichweite liegen, niemals verdeckt, immer wieder zur Hand genommen, immer wieder aufgeschlagen - und immer wieder wird weitergelesen: Dazu Nikolay Yassievichs Bilder und die Tatyanas, die sich alle ganz und gar unvergesslich tief einprägen! Lass Dir von ganzem Herzen gratulieren zu dieser künstlerischen Tat! (Auch die von keinem Buchrücken verdeckte Fadenbindung gibt Anlass für weitgehende Deutungen und Gedankenverbindungen.) 

Gottfried Meinhold ist ein deutscher Sprechwissenschaftler und Schriftsteller.

Presentation at the State Museum of the Political History of Russia in St. Petersburg

On 25 April 2017, we were invited to present the book at the Museum of Political History of  Russia, in the white hall of the former Kshesinskaya mansion where the museum is housed. Many people who were small children during the war, who remembered Nikolay Yassievich and his family, were present. Only when I saw them all together did I realize how important this was for everyone. Raisa Smulakovskaya, a relative and proofreader and editor of the Russian text, spoke movingly about her recollection of Nikolay Yassievich, and how he seemed to her to be using the letters to preserve his humanity. The presentation ended with a little panel discussion conducted by Nadia Yassievich, the author Tanya's 16-year-old daughter, who asked her grandmother and others about their experiences. 

 Susanne Beer makes a presentation about the design of the book.

Susanne Beer makes a presentation about the design of the book.

You can read more about our presentation in the Museum website (in Russian only).