7000 Days in Siberia

Karlo Stajner, Author, Joel Agee, Translator Farrar Straus Giroux $30 (400p) ISBN 978-0-374-26126-9
Written with calm courage in a matter-of-fact style, this searing diary is one of the fullest, most shocking accounts yet of the Soviet prison-camp system. Rewarded for his work as a communist in his native Austria and in Yugoslavia, Stajner was sent to the U.S.S.R. to run a print shop in 1932. Four years later, the victim of a Stalinist purge, he was sentenced to an initial 10 years in Siberian prisons, then to another 10. His journal recreates the regimentation, irrationality, thought control and sadism of the Gulag system. The reader learns of nuns murdered by NKVD soldiers, harems of women prisoners, executions committed in assembly line fashion, the mass slaughter that accompanied Soviet collectivization of farming. Now living in Yugoslavia, Stajner believes his ordeal was the fault of Stalinism and not of true socialism. His remarkable firsthand account stands as a condemnation of an unfree society. (March)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
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