The Unknown War in the Northern Pacific


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About the author

Alla Paperno was born in 1937 in Leningrad. In June 1941 Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union. In September 1941 Axis forces severed the last road to Leningrad, and the siege of the city (also known as Leningrad Blockade) began. 4 year-old Alla survived the first and the most tragic winter of the siege. In the spring of 1942 she was evacuated from the city. She returned to Leningrad with her family in 1946, and graduated from Leningrad Polytechnic Institute in 1961.

In 1963 Mrs. Paperno moved to Kamchatka, where she worked in the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of Far East Branch of Russia's Academy of Science in Petropavlovsk- Kamchatsky. In 1978 the author first started her life- long engagement with freelance journalism. In 1985 Mrs. Paperno initiated her own journalistic investigation of the events of the WWII in Northern Pacific. The Soviet censorship's ban on the war history, introduced after the war, was lifted by then.

After the retirement in 1987, Mrs. Paperno fully dedicated herself to journalism and writing.

By 1990 so-called "Special archives" of classified documents of the State Archives and large libraries in Moscow and Leningrad began opening up. As a result, Mrs. Paperno became the first fundamental Soviet explorer of Lend- Lease history in the Pacific region. Her research began in merely journalistic style, but later has acquired serious academic approach. Author's articles were published in numerous popular and scientific historical magazines. In the 1990's Alla Paperno, as a survivor of Leningrad Blockade, became eligible for significant transportation discounts, equal to the war veteran ones. This fact allowed her to travel extensively to multiple cities of the Soviet Union to gather information.

In 1991 the preparations for joint Soviet-American expedition across the Pacific Ocean to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Lend-Lease Agreement signing began. Alla Paperno was asked to prepare a review of Lend-Lease history for submission to the Soviet Government. The expedition was supposed to happen in 1992, but unfortunately, subsequent events in the USSR in the late 1991 made it impossible. However, the review had been prepared. The most thorough description of the Lend-Lease program from the economical standpoint (included in this publication) was presented there for the first time in Russian.

Mrs. Paperno’s articles appeared in newspapers of many places she visited. The author participated in several meetings of historians and historical conferences in Moscow, Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Petropavlovsk- Kamchatsky, and
St. Petersburg, including international conferences in Moscow in 1995, and in St.Petersburg in 2000.

Mrs. Paperno wrote two books in Russian: "Ленд-Лиз. Тихий Океан" ("Lend- Lease. The Pacific Ocean") (Moscow, 1998) and "Третий Период Славы Петропавловска- Камчатского" ("The Third Chapter of Glory of Petropavlovsk- Kamchatsky") (Petropavlovsk- Kamchatsky, 2007). The latter book won the award of the Russian Union of Journalists in nomination "For Professional Skills". Full content of both books in Russian is available online at

Professor Jürgen Rohwer and Alla Paperno during break between sessions of the colloquium dedicated to the 80th anniversary of J. Rohwer.
Stuttgart, Library of contemporary history, June 2004.

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