logo logo

Maria Illarionovna Vasil’chikova

Maria Vasil’chikova, USSR Author.

Background

  • Vasil’chikova, Maria was born on January 11, 1917 in St. Petersburg. Daughter of Prince Illarion Sergeevich Vasil’- chikov and Princess Lidia Viazemskaia.

  • Education

    • Educated in Paris.

    Career

    • Moved to Lithuania with her parents, 1934. Secretary at the British Legation. In 1938, moved to Switzerland, then to Italy, and eventually to Germany.

      In January 1940, settled in Berlin, where she first worked at the Drahtloser Dienst or DD (Wireless Service), the news service of the Reichs-Rundfunk Gesellschaft or RRG, and later with the Foreign Ministry’s Information Department. Soon found herself on close terms with many of the key figures in the German anti-Nazi resistance, who were actively involved in the attempt on 20 July 1944 to assassinate Hitler. After vain attempts to help her arrested friends, many of whom were to die on the gallows, fled Berlin for Vienna, where she worked as a nurse in a military hospital.

      Shortly before the fall of Vienna to the Soviet armies, she was evacuated with the hospital to Western Austria. Married Captain Peter G. Harnden, a US Army Intelligence officer, later an internationally prominent architect. All through the war, she kept a secret diary, published in London in 1985 under the title The Berlin Diaries, 1940-1945, which immediately became an international bestseller.

      After the war, lived with her husband and 4 children in France and Spain.
    See on larger map
    Born January 11, 1917
    Died August 12, 1978
    (aged 61)
    Nationality