Semion Vilenski

Dodnes tjagoteet Till my Tale is told.
Vol. I: Women's memoirs of the GULAG
Vol. II: Kolyma

Non Fiction. Vozvrashchenie. Moscow 2004
Foreigh rights: VOLUME I: Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, US
VOLUME II: rights available

Arrest, interrogation, imprisonment, trial and sentencing, transport, labor camps, internal exile, sometimes release, often followed by re-arrest and re-imprisonment and, for those who outlived Stalin, eventual reprieve and rehabilitation these are the outlines of the experiences recorded by 16 courageous Russian women whose moving testimonies, most of them written in secret and at great personal risk, are presented here.

Intended to be the first in series of collections, the first volume was devoted to women's memoirs because they offered a humanly approachable introduction to a horrific and alien world. Many of the contributors knew each other, at least slightly, and the work gives some feeling of being a collaborative effort. Only a few selections describe the entire experience of arrest, interrogation, and serving the sentence. Some tell of just a single episode or two, while others consist of poetry. Particularly interesting are the prisoners' attempts to understand the catastrophe that had overtaken them. Read consecutively, the collection is a moving and disturbing experience. In most cases, however, instructors will want to assign just one or two selections in classes. Researchers will want to consult the Russian version or the original manuscripts, which are available in Moscow and Amsterdam. Each selection has a useful biographical introduction, and the translations are all excellent. All in all, a very useful addition to the English-language sources on the history of Soviet repression. All levels.