The Man from Talalaivka


When Peter forged travel documents during Stalin’s formidable reign to see his parents in a Siberian labour camp before they perished, he knew he was facing the life-or-death challenge of his life.

What followed in the years after that journey could not have been foreseen by Peter or his countrymen. In 1941, the Ukraine was invaded by Hitler’s army and remained under its control until its retreat two years later, taking Peter and his young family with them, as workers in Germany’s labour camps where he has to draw on every ounce of his being to keep his family alive.

After years of hardship and suffering, a hand of hope is offered in the form of a ship that would take Peter and his family, now displaced persons, with no country they could claim as their own, as far away from Stalin’s Soviet Union as possible: to Australia, a land of opportunity and fairness before the law.

Based on a true story, The Man from Talalaivka, is both a political and personal story. But above all, it is a story about survival and endurance, and love: love for one’s family, love for one’s country, love for humanity.

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“An enticing and compelling true story of a family’s resilience as they endure the compounding hostilities of first Stalin, then Hitler, before adapting to a new life in Australia.”

“A brilliant read… about love, loss, separation, tragedy and endurance. Crafted with great clarity and finesse, The Man from Talalaivka will touch the heart of any reader. Swept clean of trivia, Olga Chaplin writes of enduring tragedy with no trace of self pity.”

Olga Chaplin

Olga Chaplin was born in the Ukraine during World War 2. She immigrated to Australia and now lives in Sydney, NSW.

The Man From Talalaivka is her first work of historical fiction.