Sheila Fitzpatrick - "Mischka's War" - David Bevington

Event Presenter/Author: 
Sheila Fitzpatrick

Historian Sheila Fitzpatrick tells the story of her late husband, physicist Michael Danos, as a displaced person from Riga in Germany in the 1940s. She will be joined in conversation by David Bevington. 

At the Co-op. 

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About the book: In 1943, 22-year-old Latvian Mischka Danos chanced on a terrible sight - a pit filled with the bodies of Jews killed by the occupying Germans. A few months later, escaping conscription into the Waffen-SS in Riga, Mischka entered Hitler's Reich itself on a student exchange to Germany. There, as the war drew to an end, he narrowly escaped death in the Allied fire-bombing of Dresden. As he made his escape from Hitler's Reich he fell ill and was incarcerated in hospital before finally reuniting with his resourceful mother Olga, who had made her own way out of Riga, saving some Jews along the way. The diaries, correspondence and later recollections of mother and son provide a vivid recreation of life in occupied Germany, where anxiety, fear and loss were tempered by friendship, and where the ineptitude of international and occupation bureaucracies added its own touch of black humour. Sponsored as immigrants by one of the Jews Olga had saved, they eventually reached New York in the early 1950s. As refugee experiences go, they were among the lucky ones―but even luck leaves scars. The author, who met and married Mischka forty years after these events, turns her skills as a historian and wry eye as a memoirist to telling this remarkable story.

About the author: Sheila Fitzpatrick is a historian of modern Russia/the Soviet Union who is Professor at the University of Sydney and Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of the University of Chicago. Her recent books include Tear off the Masks! Identity and Imposture in Twentieth-Century Russia (2005), A Spy in the Archives: A Memoir of Cold-War Russia (2014), and On Stalin’s Team: the Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics (2015). Her memoir/history of her husband, Mischka’s War: A European Odyssey of the 1940s, was published this year, as was a 4th (centenary) edition of The Russian Revolution. She is currently working on Soviet displaced persons after the Second World War, particularly issues of repatriation and resettlement in Australia. 

About the interlocutor: David Bevington is the Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. His books include From "Mankind" to Marlowe (1962), Tudor Drama and Politics (1968), Action Is Eloquence (1985), Shakespeare: The Seven Ages of Human Experience (2005), This Wide and Universal Theater: Shakespeare in Performance, Then and Now (2007), Shakespeare’s Ideas (2008), Shakespeare and Biography (2010), and Murder Most Foul: Hamlet Through the Ages (2011). He is the editor of Medieval Drama, 1975, The Bantam Shakespeare, and The Complete Works of Shakespeare, 6th edition. He is a senior editor of the Revels Student Editions, the Revels Plays, The Norton Anthology of Renaissance Drama, and the Cambridge edition of the works of Ben Jonson.


Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago 60637