Kurbak M. S. A South African “spy” and the civil war in Russia: memoirs of Kenneth van der Spuy
Maria S. Kurbak
Institute of General History, Russian Academy of Sciences
ABSTRACT. The author analyses the memoirs of the South African pilot, General Kenneth van der Spuy. She focuses on the story of how Van der Spuy appeared to be in Russia during the Civil War as a part of the coalition intervention group; how he was captured by the Bolsheviks and spent a year and a half in Russian jails. This is an incredibly interesting experience of a person who has overcome difficulties, but has learned positive lessons for himself. Emerging from the Butyrka jail, he did not hate Russia. On the contrary, he was grateful for this experience. After all, in Russian jails he met interesting people and got to know about their fates, tempered his soul and character, and was able to think a lot about what he really needed to appreciate in life. The description of the “Russian adventures” occupies a third of the memoirs of Van der Spuy. It shows the great importance of this period for his further life. His interest in Russia became hereditary to his family. The nephew of Van der Spuy learned Russian, and his wife, Unna van der Spuy, read books about Russia and dreamt of traveling there, which happened in 1998, after the death of her husband.
KEYWORDS: South Africa, SAR , history of South Africa, South Africa and Russia, history of aviation in South Africa, Kenneth van der Spuy
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