8.12.09

Gustaw Herling - Inny świat (A World Apart)


Rating 7.6

This is one of those books which not only should but might deserve to be more widely known.

The first account of "Russian labour camps" I read so far in which the author not only writes about what he survived to, but tries to put it in a larger historical context.
Of course Herling was helped in this task by the fact that his isolation was awful but not as endless as the one of Salamov and Solzenicyn, but still he did an extraordinary job.

At the same time he had the humility of reckoning that the Hell he was put into by fate was a better one compared to the atrocities of the Kolyma.
The passage in which Herling says that he later understood how being sent to the Kolyma for the people "working" in his camp sounded like being sent to Auschwitz for the prisoners of Nazi lagers is astonishing.

One of the many unforgettable lines I already found:

"We can say that the Revolution really overthrew the former order of things. Once slaves were thrown to lions. Now lions are thrown to slaves".

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