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Book Title: Within the Whirlwind|
The author of the book: Evgenia Ginzburg
Edition: Collins, Harvill
Date of issue: 1989
ISBN 13: 9780002729079
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 869 KB
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Reader ratings: 7.8
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It wasn't easy to finish this book. After reading "Into the Whirlwind" it was hard to bear more blows to Eugenia's life: one guard sends her back to tree felling, the other one on a walk across the taiga, a walk that lets her contemplate suicide. But the rewards of going all the way to the last page were stunning.
- Her descriptions of her time in the "children's house" (just what I need for my research)
- Or this quote: "For the first time in several years I found myself alone in a room. The distant voices and the sound of steps outside the little gray window had given way to silence. Silence - what a long time since I had last heard it! How empty my soul had become in this painful chopping and changing between the tedium of hard manual labor and the torments of working as a camp medic. I seemed to have stopped reciting poems to myself. But here I could make a new start. I should become myself again. And in the silence to poems would come back to me. Blessed solitude, a gift beyond treasure, especially after the fearful loneliness of compulsory, unrelieved togetherness ..."
- Her honesty is breathtaking. When she learns of her older son's death she writes: "I cared for no one, absolutely no one, at that moment ... The egotism of those who suffer is probably even more all embracing than the self-regard of those who are happy."
- The following could have been written about post-war Germany: "People may reply that it is more common to come across cases of those who loudly protest their innocence while seeking to put the blame on the era they live in, on their neighbors, or on their own youthfulness and inexperience ... And that is so. Yet, I am all but convinced that the very loudness of these protestations is meant to drown the quiet and inexorable inner voice that keeps reminding a man of his guilt."
- There are scenes so vivid they will stay in my mind as if etched in stone: When she is finally out of the camp she wants to walk to Magadan despite a forecast of dangerous snow storms. She tramps off and in the middle of this desert of ice and snow, when she is close to giving up, she detects a figure. As it comes closer she recognizes her husband, the German doctor she met in the camps. Or the scene when after twelve years of separation she meets her youngest son. "It was the most crucial moment in my life: the joining up of the broken links in our chain of time; the recapturing of our organic closeness severed by twelve years of separation, of living among strangers. My son!... But how fragile it is, this thread that has joined again past and future, how it tembles in the wind! It must not be allowed to snap again! Keep it from breaking, keep it from breaking at all costs. ..."
- When she was re-arrested I almost put the book down. Too much to bear. But I would have missed her release after just a few days, I would have missed the story of Engineer Krivoshei, the spy (He could be a figure out of Figes' The Whisperer) and the havoc he reeked. One of the jewels of Ginzberg's narration: "I feel guilty vis-a-vis the reader. It's so monotonous! Here we are again, awaiting arrest! Not another round of those nightmares!"
Her personal triumphs after Stalin died are endlessly rewarding.
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Read information about the authorYevgenia Ginzburg (Russian language: Евгения Семёновна Гинзбург) was a Russian historian and writer. Her latinized name Eugenia is frequently used in the West.
Soon after Yevgenia Ginzburg was born into the family of a Jewish pharmacist in Moscow, her family moved to Kazan. In 1920 she entered the social sciences department of Kazan State University, later switching to pedagogy.
She worked as a rabfak (рабфак, рабочий факультет, worker's faculty) teacher, then as an assistant at the University. Shortly thereafter, she married Pavel Aksyonov, the mayor (председатель горсовета) of Kazan and a member of the Central Executive Committee (ЦИК) of the USSR. After becoming a Communist Party member, Ginzburg continued her successful career as educator, journalist and administrator. Her oldest son, Alexei Fedorov, from her first marriage to Doctor Fedorov, was born in 1926 and died in the Great Patriotic War. Her younger son Vasily Aksyonov, born in 1932, went on to become a famous writer.
In February 1937, she was expelled from the party ranks and soon arrested for her alleged connections to the Trotskyists. (See also Great Purge). Her parents were also arrested but released two months later. Her husband was arrested in July and sentenced to 15 years of "corrective labor" with the confiscation of his property. (Articles 58-7 and 11). In August, Yevgenia was also sentenced to ten years.
Yevgenia experienced first-hand the infamous Moscow Lefortovo and Butyrka prisons, the Yaroslavl "Korovniki", as well as the journey on a prison train across the country to Vladivostok, and finally to Kolyma in the cargo hold of the steamer Jurma (Джурма). At Magadan, she worked at a camp hospital, but was soon sent into the cold depths of the Gulag and assigned to so-called common jobs, where she quickly became an emaciated dokhodyaga ("goner"). A Crimean German doctor, Anton Walter, probably saved her life by recommending her for a nursing position. Anton had been deported due to his German heritage, Yevgenia due to her allegedly critical attitude to the Soviet system. They married later.
In February 1949, Ginzburg was formally released but had to stay in Magadan for five more years. She found a position at a kindergarten and secretly started to work on her memoirs. In October 1950 she was arrested again and exiled to Krasnoyarsk region, but before she left, her destination was changed to Kolyma. After Stalin's death in 1953, Ginzburg was able to visit Moscow and was fully rehabilitated in 1955, as were millions of wrongly convicted, many posthumously.
She returned to Moscow, worked as a reporter and continued her work on her magnum opus memoir, Journey into the Whirlwind (English title). After the book was completed (1967), all attempts to publish it in the USSR failed for political reasons and the manuscript was smuggled abroad, where it was widely published. Eventually, her book included 2 parts, in original Russian named "Krutoi marshrut I" and "Krutoi marshrut II" -- "Harsh Route" or "Steep Route."
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