Notes from the Gallows

Julius Fuchik, Author, Julius Fucik, Author Peregrine Smith Books $8.95 (112p) ISBN 978-0-87905-252-2
Readers would be well advised to ignore the Communist hyperbole that envelops what is otherwise a brave and moving prison memoir and a credible historical document of Communist resistance to fascism. Out of print since 1948, this comprises the prison journal--penciled on scraps of paper and smuggled out of a Gestapo prison by a Czech guard--of Fuchik, a journalist and leader of the Czech Communist party who was executed in 1943 at the age of 40. Here he honors heroes and rebukes cowards and criminals. His wife, Gustina, refuses to accede to the Nazis and persuade him to ``be reasonable''; a former comrade capitulates to the Gestapo and implicates his associates. His cellmate, ``Dad,'' who cleans his torture-inflicted wounds and never balks from the stink of the pus, gifts Fuchik with a tiny daisy and a few blades of grass picked at the risk of his life during exercise period; a guard beats a sick man, and then makes the other prisoners do a squatting exercise in rhythm g to his convulsions. Fuchik was confined in body (in his cell, there were ``seven steps from the door to the window, seven steps from the window to the door''), but his love of mankind and vision of the future were capacious: ``Cell 267 sings. I have sung all my life and see no reason for stopping at the end of it, when one lives most intensely.'' (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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