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The brutality of the Gulag was totally dehumanising

12 December 2020

9:00 AM

12 December 2020

9:00 AM

Journey into the Land of the Zeks and Back: A Memoir of the Gulag Julius Margolin, translated by Stefani Hoffman

OUP, pp.640, 30.99

‘It was a gray mass of people in rags, lying motionless with bloodless, pale faces, cropped hair, with a shifty, gloomy look.’ Julius Margolin’s first encounter with Soviet prisoners takes place in August 1940 on the way to a labour camp in the north of Russia. Four years later, waiting at another transit point, he sees ‘semi-cripples, former, present and future invalids’, ‘bony shadows with hands and feet like sticks, in smelly tatters and dirty rags’.

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