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January 14, 2022, 11:03

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Soldiers of the sapper battalion of the 213th Infantry Division are reading letters from home; second from the right is the letter bearer corporal V. Lapshin. Photo by B. Vdovenko. 1st Baltic Front. March 16, 1944. Main Archive of Moscow

This year the work turned 80 years old.

80 years ago, on January 14, 1942, the poem “Wait for me and I will return …” was first published in the Pravda newspaper. Now it is called a symbol of the Great Patriotic War. 26-year-old front-line correspondent Konstantin Simonov wrote these lines about one of the most disturbing months – July 1941. They are dedicated to the beloved woman, who later became the poet’s wife, Valentina Serova, a famous theater and film actress.

The poem very quickly won national recognition – in difficult wartime, people more than ever needed a reminder of love and the hope of meeting separated people. The words “wait for me” repeated in a refrain have become an oath of allegiance for many warriors, a spell of salvation from death, a promise to survive and return.

Konstantin Simonov said that someone would have written this poem, even if not him: there was a vital necessity in it. The lines “Wait for me and I’ll be back…” were rewritten by thousands of soldiers and sent across the country.

Konstantin Simonov himself went through the war from the first to the last day, participated in raids behind enemy lines, in combat operations on land, in water and in the air. The events of those years became the main theme of the poet’s work. Among his most significant works about front-line roads are the play “Such a Guy Lives”, the story “Days and Nights”, the poems “Do you remember, Alyosha, the roads of the Smolensk region”, “If your house is dear to you”, “The major brought the boy on a gun carriage”, “Motherland”, as well as the trilogy “The Living and the Dead”. The Glavarkhiv contains materials on the work and social activities of Konstantin Simonov, a writer, screenwriter, translator and editor.

The poet died in 1979, he was buried on the Buinichsky field, where the Soviet units, holding the defense and repelling enemy attacks in July 1941, burned 39 enemy tanks. The inscription on the memorial stone reads: “All his life he remembered this battlefield of 1941 and bequeathed to scatter his ashes here.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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