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Lev Zalmanovich (Zinovyevich) Kopelev

Education of a True Believer

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Education of a True Believer  by Lev Zalmanovich (Zinovyevich) Kopelev

Good Condition (Dust jacket flap is clipped. Unmarked text. Book has light wear.) 

 Lev Zalmanovich (Zinovyevich) Kopelev (Russian): Лев Залма́нович (Зино́вьевич) Ко́пелев, German: Lew Sinowjewitsch Kopelew, 9 April 1912, Kiev – 18 June 1997, (Cologne) was a Soviet author and dissident.

Kopelev was born in Kiev, then Russian Empire, to a middle-class Jewish family. In 1926, his family moved to Kharkov. While a student at Kharkov State University in the philosophy faculty, Kopelev began writing in the Russian and Ukranian languages; some of his articles were published in the Komsomolskava Prvda newspaper.

An idealist Communist and active Bolshevik, he was first arrested in March 1929 for "consorting with the Bukharinist and Trotskyist opposition," and spent ten days in prison

Later, he worked as an editor of radio news broadcasts at a locomotive factory. In 1932, as a correspondent, Kopelev witnessed the NKVD's forced grain requisitioning and the dek ulakization. Later, he described the Holodomor in his memoirs The Education of a True Believer. Robert Conquest''s The Harvest Of Sorrow later quoted him directly (see also Collectisation in the USSR).

He graduated from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages in 1935 in the German language faculty, and, after 1938, he taught at the Moscow Institute of Philosophy, Literature and History where he earned a PhD.

When the German-Soviet War broke out in June 1941, he volunteered for the Red Army and used his knowledge of German to serve as a propaganda officer and an interpreter. When he entered East Prussia with the Red Army throughout the East Prussian Offensive, he sharply criticized the atrocities against German civilian population and was arrested in 1945 and sentenced to a ten-year term in the Gulog for fostering "bourgeois humanism" and for "compassion towards the enemy". In the sharashka Marfino he met Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Kopelev became a prototype for Rubin from The First Circle.

Released in 1954, in 1956 he was rehabilitated. Still an optimist and believer in the ideals of communism, during the Kruschev Thaw he restored his Communist Part of the Soviet Union (CPSU) membership. From 1957–1969 he taught in the Moscow Institute of Polygraphy and the Institute of History of Arts. It was Kopelev who approached Aleksandr Tvardoysky, editor of the top Soviet literary journal, the Nov Mir (New World) to urge publication of Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

From 1968 onward Kopelev actively participated in the human rights and dissident movement. In 1968 he was fired from his job and expelled from the CPSU and the Writers' Union for signing protest letters against the persecution of dissidents, publicly supporting Andre Sinyaysky and Yuli Daniel and actively denouncing the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. He also protested Solzhenitsyn's expulsion from the Writers' Union and wrote in defense of dissenting General Pyotr Grigorenko imprisonbed at a psikhushka.

Kopelev's books were distributed via samizdat (underground publishing), smuggled out of Russia and published in the West.

For his political activism and contacts with the West, he was deprived of the right to teach or be published in 1977.

As a scientist, Kopelev led a research project on the history of Russian-German cultural links at the University of Wuppertal. In 1980, while he was on a study trip to EWest Germany, his Soviet citizenship was revoked. After 1981 Kopelev was a Professor at the University of Wuppertal.

Kopelev was an honorary PhD at the University of Cologne and a winner of many international awards. In 1990 Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev restored his Soviet citizenship.

Kopelev was married for many years to Raisa Orlova, a Soviet specialist in American literature, who emigrated with him to Germany. Her memoirs were published in the United States in 1984.

Lev Kopelev died in Cologne, Germany on June 18, 1997 at the age of 85, and was buried in the New Donskov Cemetery in Moscow.