The Tramp’s Tale: A Story of Internal Soviet Travel and Border Crossing after the Second World War
Anastasia Egorova was a one-legged Russian tramp whose wanderings took her all over the Soviet Union in the 1920s-1940s. At the end of the Second World War, she decided to see the world, and successfully crossed the Western border in 1945, claiming to be Polish. Travelling on to Italy, she found refuge in a psychiatric hospital and stayed there for four years, until Soviet officials looking for repatriation prospects came by and offered her free passage home. She accepted, and was duly repatriated and returned to her native village in 1950. The paper examines this microhistory from the Soviet archives.
Sheila Fitzpatrick is Professor of History at the University of Sydney and Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of the University of Chicago. Her books include Everyday Stalinism (2000), Tear off the Masks! Identity and Imposture in Twentieth-Century Russia (2005), My Father’s Daughter (2010) and a memoir of Moscow in the 1960s, A Spy in the Archives (2013. Her most recent monograph, On Stalin’s Team: The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics, Minister's Prize for Non-Fiction in Australia in 2016. She is currently working on a project on displaced persons from the Soviet Union after the Second World War and the issue of repatriation. Her book on the experiences of Michael and Olga Danos as DPs in Germany is now finished and will be published as Mischka`s War: A European Odyssey of the 1940`s by Melbourne University Press and I.B.Tauris in London in July of this year.