HOME

THE EDUCATION OF A TRAITOR: A MEMOIR OF GROWING UP IN COLD WAR RUSSIA

M E D I A  K I T

Interview with KMOS-TV

INTERVIEW with PHIL HOFFMAN, KMOS-TV (PBS)

 

tilted 2-006

Interview with Paul Pepper, KBIA

INTERVIEW with PAUL PEPPER, KBIA (NPR)

“This book may be read on several levels: either as a coming-of-age autobiography, or as a wider-ranging portrait of personal survival and growth. … A hard-hitting and involving story that delivers vignettes of change and survival using a powerful voice and a personal perspective that’s hard to put down.” Midwest Book Review 

“Each chapter functions as a stand-alone tale, depicting not only a moment in Grobman’s childhood, but also an aspect of Soviet life.  … A relatable, personal portrait of Jewish life in Soviet Moscow in the 1950s and ’60s. An intimate look at a young woman’s struggle to find her own truth in a repressive society.”Kirkus Reviews

“The Education of a Traitor is a story of a Jewish girl, curious about life, struggling to grow in the mean-spirited and noxious atmosphere of Soviet Russia. …A fascinating glimpse of everyday life in the former Soviet Union. …Captivating …” —Eleana Gorokhova, author of Russian Tattoo

“This story turned my stomach, made me laugh out loud, and broke my heart, sometimes all in the same chapter. Grobman beautifully captures the childhood psyche in this touching story of family, the uncertainties of youth, and life in a forgotten, cloistered society.” Readers’ Favorite

“Grobman has a brilliant gift for writing. … Humor and irony fill the pages. I  highly recommend “The Education of a Traitor” for anyone that enjoys memoirs and anyone interested in taking a look behind the scenes of the Iron Curtain.”Reader Views

Punctuated with notable quotes and archival photographs from Svetlana’s childhood, The Education of a Traitor deal with heavy topics. Yet Svetlana stays grounded, and many of the chapters actually prove to be quite funny. Missouri Life Magazine

BUY FROM 

1-rain-001

1-rain-004

1-rain-001

Book Synopsis

Svetlana (Sveta) Grobman grew up in a communal apartment in Moscow during the Cold War with her mother, father and younger sister. From a very young age, she found herself living in two contradictory worlds: the private world of a Jewish family struggling to live a decent life in a society rife with shortages and anti-Semitism; and the public world of an oppressive totalitarian regime that brainwashed its citizen into believing that the Soviet Union was the best country in the world.

Despite being constantly bullied and insulted by playmates, neighbors, and teachers, Sveta was a dreamer.  In the confinement of her cramped apartment, with a book in her hands, she dreamt about doing something significant for her country to earn its love and respect. Yet as Sveta matured and learned about the persecution of her family and the tragic deaths of her Ukrainian relatives during WWII, she realized that the world around her was built on lies and corruption, and that she needed to be strong just to survive.

Composed of a series of poignant and sometimes humorous stories, the Education of a Traitor is a luminous memoir that not only describes the experience of one Jewish child coming of age in Russia at the height of the Cold War, but also explains why millions of people chose to leave the Soviet Union when the Iron Curtain finally fell.

1-IMG_1657-002

From the Author:

Dear Friends,

My dream of publishing my first book — my memoir — has come true!  This book covers the first fifteen years of my life, but I spent five years writing it. Why so long? For one thing, I had to learn to write in English, for I came to this country knowing only Russian (and a little German:)). For another, my childhood was not happy. In fact, some of the things that happened to me then haunt me even now, and it hasn’t been easy to relive them. Yet that’s all in the past. My book, The Education of a Traitor, is out. I hope you like it. —Svetlana Grobman

Advertisements

Recent Posts

Vote!

I was working on my computer when my husband walked into my study and said, “Something terrible has happened.”

“In Israel or in London?” I said, my breathing stopping, for my sister’s family lives in Israel and my daughter’s in London.

“No,” he said, “in Pittsburg.”

The details emerged quickly. An armed gunman burst into a Synagogue, killed 11 people and wounded several more. Six minutes before the act, the man who branded Jews as “the children of Satan,” posted on his Facebook, “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered… I’m going in.”

“You know,” I said to my husband, “I’m starting to feel as if we’re reliving 1932 in Germany all over again. The Kristallnacht has not happened, yet, but it is coming.

He just hugged me. “I’m so sorry.”

Next day, we went to a vigil in honor of the victims. Before we left, I said to my non-Jewish husband, “Maybe I should go alone. You never know what may happen. You have children and grandchildren. You have responsibilities to them, too. I don’t want to put you in harm’s way.” “Nonsense,” he said, and we went together.

The crowd, assembled on the lawn of a small city park, wasn’t very big – mostly Jews of our Midwestern college town, but others as well. The ceremony was emotional and sad. People spoke of their feelings, the need for all good people to unite in the face of evil, about the Holocaust, and all the other things people say every time a mass shooting takes place. Then a rabbi read Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd

……
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”

His words struck me. Was he talking about a different event? Did he even notice how ill-suited his words were? The slaughtered were in the Lord’s temple named the Tree of Life, of all things!

“They comfort me?” When? At the moment of death? As they comforted those six million Jews killed during the Holocaust? What comfort…

Of course, nothing was the rabbi’s fault. He did what he was taught to do – pray and read passages, which, hopefully, gave solace to some. To me, they triggered anger. “I fear no evil”? Really? I do. And I’m sure I am not the only one! He would have done better to just read the names and the ages of the victims, which ranged from 54 to 97–people who could be no threat to anyone. But, again, that was my anger talking.

Many said that what’s been happening in the last two years is Trump’s fault–that he created this ugly and hateful wave. Yet I also heard another voice. Trump didn’t create the wave. He’s just riding it.

I agree with that. Like Pandora who released evil spirits into the world, Trump didn’t create greed, hatred and other human ugliness. They have been smoldering for a long time. He just released them, he gave them a voice. The scary part is that now that they are out, it will be very hard to reverse this evil wave. (In fact, this wave may, one day, crush Trump himself. But, as a Russian colloquial expression has it, “A person who behaves like a dog deserves to die like a dog.”)

And if we fail to stop the wave, it may crush us, too. Look at the people at Trump’s rallies. Don’t they look – and sound – like German Nazis? Look at their youth. Don’t they remind you of Hitlerjugend? And their women? Can you picture them as capos in a concentration camp? Think I’m exaggerating? Take another look! Listen to how angry they are!

Oh, I see, you think you’re not in danger because you’re not a black or a Jew, or a Mexican or gay. Don’t kid yourself. Today it’s not about you. But tomorrow it could be. Tomorrow, they may come after the old (Republicans have been talking about getting rid of social security for some time now), the Muslims, the mentally ill, the intellectuals, and other minorities. It will happen! Unless we stop them today.

And so, don’t just pray or turn off the news. Vote!

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

~~ Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

©Svetlana Grobman.  All Rights Reserved

  1. On Feeling Blue 9 Replies
  2. ALL THAT MATTERS 20 Replies
  3. The Trump Effect 24 Replies
  4. In Memory of Elie Wiesel 7 Replies
  5. Volunteers: A Study in Contrasts 2 Replies
  6. If not Now, When? 6 Replies
  7. I’ve been Freshly Pressed! 20 Replies
  8. “Nature Red in Tooth and Claw” ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson 14 Replies
  9. Caroline Leavitt featured me on her blog! 14 Replies
  10. A Wrinkle in Time 18 Replies
  11. Shameless Self-Promotion:) 2 Replies
  12. Radio Interviews 6 Replies
  13. Dreams 215 Replies
  14. MY BOOK IS OUT! 17 Replies
  15. As Good as It Gets or Happy Valentine’s Day! 8 Replies
  16. Weekly Photo Challenge: New 11 Replies
  17. Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art 2 Replies
  18. Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure! 2 Replies
  19. Two Birthdays and a Funeral 15 Replies
  20. Weekly Photo Challenge: Treshold 12 Replies
  21. Living on the Edge: Musings On Life and Gardening Leave a reply
  22. Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes or Life is Like a Box of Chocolates 20 Replies
  23. Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure 4 Replies
  24. Valentine’s Day 10 Replies
  25. Just Wondering 6 Replies
  26. Christmas Letters and Other Matters 8 Replies
  27. Let’s Talk Turkey 4 Replies
  28. The City of Love 7 Replies
  29. Happy Halloween 3 Replies