Alexander Alfredowitsch Bek

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Alexander Alfredowitsch Bek ( Russian Алекса́ндр Альфре́дович Бек ; born January 3, 1903 in Saratov ; † November 2, 1972 in Moscow , sometimes translated from Russian Cyrillic as Aleksandr Bek or anglicized to Alexander Beck ) was a Soviet novelist and writer . He became internationally known through the novel Die Wolokolamsker Chaussee , in which he processed his own impressions during the Battle of Moscow (1941).


Bek was born in Saratow as the son of a doctor of German descent in the Imperial Russian Army . There he attended a secondary school . In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the outbreak of the Russian civil war between the “ Reds ” and “ Whites ”, the 16-year-old joined the Bolshevik Red Army as a volunteer . In 1919, Bek began to write articles for the division magazine. His first novel, Kurako , was published in 1934. It deals with the outstanding Soviet metalworker Mikhail Kurako and goes back to impressions that Bek had gained during a visit to the city of Novokuznetsk . Further work in the style of socialist realism followed in the 1930s .

During the Second World War , Bek was enlisted in the Red Army . As a war correspondent , he witnessed the Battle of Moscow in 1941 . In 1944 one of his most famous works was published, Die Wolokolamsker Chaussee (“Волоколамское шоссе”), which deals with the defensive battle of a battalion in the forests off Moscow, along the Wolokolamsker Chaussee. The prose is precise and sober. Bek describes the desperate struggle of a largely self-reliant, poorly equipped battalion of the Red Army against a superior, motorized enemy. But under the direction of its commander Momysh-Uly , the battalion consistently exploited the enemy's weaknesses; he succeeds in stopping the advance of the Wehrmacht . The strategy of the fascist blitzkrieg has failed. Heiner Müller noted that Bek does not mention Stalin's name once in this work . The following year, Bek saw the end of World War II in Europe in Berlin .

Beks' better-known works in the 1950s and 1960s include Various Days ( “Несколько дней” ) and General Panfilov's Reserve (“Резерв генерала Панфилова”) - a continuation of the Wolokolamsker Chaussee (both published in 1960). As early as 1956 Talent (“Талант”) and Berezhkov's Life (“Жизнь Бережкова”) were published - about the life of a skilled worker in the Soviet automobile industry.

Beks' 1965 novel The Appointment is considered a key novel about the Soviet politician Iwan Tewosian , who was given a leading position in the Soviet metal industry during the Stalin era . Despite an initial announcement in Nowy Mir , the novel did not appear in the Soviet Union until 1986 - mainly because of the protests of Tewosian's widow. In fact, The Appointment first appeared in the FRG in 1972 , in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and S. Fischer Verlag .

German translations

  • Timofei with an open heart. Narrative. Dietz, Berlin 1950.
  • Higher and higher . Novel. German by Hermann Asemissen, Verl. Kultur u. Progress, Berlin 1958.
  • The Volokolamsker Chaussee . German military publisher, Berlin 1962, 1963.
  • General Panfilov's Reserve . German military publisher, Berlin 1965.
  • The appointment . S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt / M. 1972, 1975.

English translations

  • And Not to Die: A Novel. SRT Publications, 1949.
  • Berezhkov: The Story of an Inventor. Foreign Languages ​​Publishing House, 1958.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c David K. Danow: Bek, Aleksándr Alfrédovich. In: Handbook of Russian Literature . Ed. Victor Terras. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut 1990, ISBN 0-300-04868-8 , p. 43.
  2. a b Бек, Александр Альфредович ( Bek, Alexander Alfredowitsch ). Энциклопедия «Кругосвет» ( Krugosvet Encyclopedia ). accessed on February 15, 2015