Apparatchik Becomes Prisoner

One of the main characters in Life and Fate is a man named Krymov — a party commissar, tasked with making sure all men carry out their patriotic duty in service to the state. Somewhere around p. 600, he is denounced. Which is a very special process, not sure yet how it works, but apparently someone denounced Krymov, and without much ado, he becomes Political Prisoner xxx. No time to tell anyone, his head is shaved, his belt is removed, the buttons of his trousers are cut off, and he has the full-body search. Finally, he finds himself in a cell with a bunch of other people whose last names begin with “K.”

Self has to remind herself over and over, this is not Kafka. This is real. Vasily Grossimov was a journalist and worked with some of the biggest dailies in Russia. He felt Russian most of his life, until he was reminded that he couldn’t be Russian, because he was a Jew.

The prisoners got ready to go to sleep. The light continued to glare down; Krymov could feel someone watching through the spy-hole as he unwound his foot-cloths, pulled up his pants and scratched his chest. It was a very special light; it was there not so that they could see, but so that they could be seen. If it had been found more convenient to observe them in darkness, they would have been kept in darkness.

— life and fate, p. 625

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: