Heart-Touching Children’s Memories
Memory of the past is one of the main tools in shaping the future, believes Marina Mishunkina, First Deputy Director General of the Argumenty i Fakty Publishing House and member of the Peace 50 community. Sometimes it is very painful to think about the tragic events of wartime. However, it is necessary to preserve memory about that and pass it on to future generations without decorations for humanity not to repeat such terrible mistakes. On the eve of Victory Day in Russia, Marina Mishunkina told about the AiF’s social project dedicated to the memories of children whose childhood and youth date back to the difficult time of the Great Patriotic War.
First Deputy Director General of the Argumenty i Fakty Publishing House
Five years ago, Argumenty i Fakty published the ‘Children’s Book of War’ dated to the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory. The collection includes 35 diaries of boys and girls, who at the time of those tragic events were from 9 to 17 years old. Those children went through the horrors of war. The diaries helped them to unleash their emotions and free their minds from hard memories.
Before that, many of such materials were kept in family archives carefully and weren’t published in books or in the media.
“Sometimes such children's manuscripts can tell much more than documents and stories of adults. After all, no one can perceive events as sensitive and emotional as children do”, explains Marina Mishunkina.
The project became very popular. In 2015, the book was presented in the Kremlin as a gift to veterans of the Great Patriotic War. The book was also translated into English and distributed to libraries in different countries.
The ‘Children’s Book of War’ has received many awards. They include ‘Book of the Year’ award in the ‘Victory’ nomination, the Russian Government’s award in the field of media and the prize for the country’s best social project.
Later, the AiF team decided to expand the project and create patriotic podcasts based on children’s diaries. The book was voiced by famous Russian actors and presenters. Vladimir Pozner, Ivan Urgant, Chulpan Khamatova, Igor Kirillov, and other media figures were happy to take part in the project.
The texts touched the hearts of everyone who read them. “Children have a very sincere sense of truth. They do not lie and are thus the most valuable witnesses of all tragic events. I voiced the diary by the girl who wrote it at Stutthof concentration camp. I couldn’t help crying. The things she described were so terrible”, commented Ekaterina Andreeva, TV presenter voicing the diary of Masha Rolnikaite.
Today, the project has stepped into a new phase of its development. By May 2020, the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory, Argumenty i Fakty released a series of animated documentary films titled ‘Children on the Threshold of Death’.
The heroes of the ‘Children’s Book of War’ became characters in the animated videos. Those cartoons with uneasy content and deep meaning are aimed at patriotic education of the rising generation. “Through living pictures of animated documentary films, the modern viewer can feel the difficult tragic experience of children who wrote their diaries in the ghettos and concentration camps and during the Siege of Leningrad. It is difficult to talk about that. However, it is important to know that truth and pass it on to future generations”, emphasizes Marina Mishunkina.
Animated design is a way of storytelling that is understandable and relevant for today’s young people. Such a digitized story produces a powerful impression. The AiF team believes that such a genre makes it possible to touch upon complex topics carefully, to establish a dialogue among generations, and to speak out the pain.
“Instilling sincere interest in the modern generation and using relevant formats are the only way to preserve the memory of important events and bring children as close to history as possible”.
The first animation film of that kind was released on May 8, 2020. It was a video based on the diary of Tatyana Rudykovskaya who is still alive today. “Of course, we honor and keep the memory of the dead veterans. However, now we still have the opportunity to do something valuable for the living veteran. It is important not to miss it”, said Marina Mishunkina. Five years ago, when the ‘Children’s Book of War’ was published in print form, there were 10 authors of diaries alive. Today, there are only two of them.
The Argumenty i Fakty team carries out a number of social projects. Some of them are dedicated to Victory Day in Russia, one of the most heart-touching and tragic holidays.
This year, Russia celebrates Victory Day in the context of self-isolation of its citizens. Even the March of the Immortal Regiment will take place online. According to Marina Mishunkina, AiF is one of the main information partners of that action, Anyone wishing can take part in the Online March of the Immortal Regiment by sending information about their relatives, veterans of the Great Patriotic War, to the website of the Argumenty i Fakty Publishing House or the project’s website.
Viktoria Yezhova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov
for Global Growth
and Information Technologies. All rights reserved
Global Women Media news agency