Alexander Werth

Alexander Werth (4 February 1901, St Petersburg – 5 March 1969, Paris) was a Russian-born, naturalized British writer, journalist, and war correspondent.


Werth's family fled to the United Kingdom in the wake of the Russian Revolution.

Werth wrote about France in the prewar period and about Russia in World War II, especially the Battle of Stalingrad and the Siege of Leningrad. He spoke and wrote both Russian and English at the native level. His best-known work is Russia at War 1941 to 1945, (London, 1964) a behind-the-scenes look at life in the wartime Soviet Union; he spent the war there as the BBC's correspondent, and had unrivalled access due to the combination of his BBC press credentials and his ability to function as a native Russian speaker.

Majdanek concentration camp

Red Army soldiers examining the ovens at Majdanek, following the camp's liberation, summer 1944

Werth was among a group of journalists to visit the Majdanek concentration and extermination camp after it had been discovered by the advancing Red Army. He filed a report on the atrocities that had been committed there, but the BBC initially refused to broadcast it, believing that it was too incredible to be true and suspecting a Soviet propaganda stunt.[1]

He was the Moscow correspondent for the Guardian newspaper from 1946 to 1949. He was one of the first outsiders to be allowed into Stalingrad after the battle. Other works include: France 1940-1955: the de Gaulle Revolution; Moscow 41; The Last Days of Paris: a Journalist's Diary; Leningrad; The Year of Stalingrad; and Musical Uproar in Moscow.

His son Nicolas Werth is a French historian (Directeur de recherche au CNRS) who specializes in the history of the Soviet Union.



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