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And you could also be arrested and killed for nothing at all, cheap geriforte online since the NKVD, cheap geriforte online like other elements of the Soviet economy, cheap geriforte online had productivity targets to meet Anyone who was different was suspect. In 1937, cheap geriforte online 53 members of a deaf-mutes' association were arrested in Leningrad, cheap geriforte online and 33 were sentenced to death for conducting 'conspiracies' in sign-language. Stamp-collectors, cheap geriforte online who had shown an unhealthy interest in letters from foreign countries, cheap geriforte online were hunted down, cheap geriforte online and so too were people who had learnt Esperanto. If life was as bad as this for Russians, cheap geriforte online just think how bad it must have been for people who were trying to live like Russians, cheap geriforte online but were in fact Americans. Not tourists, cheap geriforte online businessmen, cheap geriforte online or diplomats; no, cheap geriforte online these were just ordinary working people, cheap geriforte online who had moved to the Soviet Union. Their total number is unknown, cheap geriforte online but it must have run to several thousands, cheap geriforte online and their story - the subject of Tim Tzouliadis's gripping and important book - has never been fully told before. Why had they come? Some were idealistic Communists, cheap geriforte online or left-wingers whose trade-union activism had cost them their jobs in the US. But most were just looking for work, cheap geriforte online having lost their jobs in the way that millions of other Americans lost theirs, cheap geriforte online in the Great Depression. While American industry contracted, cheap geriforte online Russia had been recruiting skilled technicians, cheap geriforte online not least to run the giant car factory which was purchased - en bloc - from Henry Ford and plonked down on the banks of the Volga. At first, cheap geriforte online life was good for most of these immigrants - better, cheap geriforte online certainly, cheap geriforte online than the life of the unemployed in the US. They were fêted by the Russian media, cheap geriforte online and the authorities allowed major stadiums to be used for their baseball matches. The workers of the world were able to unite at last, cheap geriforte online it seemed, cheap geriforte online losing their chains but not their bats and gloves. True, cheap geriforte online there were a few little warning signs. Many of the immigrants were relieved of their American passports on arrival, cheap geriforte online never to see them again. Cheap geriforte online (Suitably doctored, cheap geriforte online some of the passports were used for sending Soviet agents to America.) Wages which the Russian authorities had promised to deposit in US bank accounts mysteriously failed to appear there. Pressure was put on some of the Americans to take up Soviet citizenship, cheap geriforte online thereby losing the protection of international law; and some found that they had taken it up unknowingly, cheap geriforte online having been made to sign forms in Russian which they could not read. But with the onset of the Terror, cheap geriforte online it hardly mattered what anyone had signed. To visit the American Embassy in Moscow, cheap geriforte online in order to register US citizenship, cheap geriforte online was in many cases to write one's own death sentence: NKVD men waited on the other side of the street, cheap geriforte online seized people as they emerged, cheap geriforte online and bundled them into vans. Nor were the most prominent and idealistic pro-Communists immune from arrest - rather the opposite. Reverend Julius Hecker, cheap geriforte online a Methodist from Columbia University who had published several books in the US defending Communism, cheap geriforte online was arrested, cheap geriforte online tortured and, cheap geriforte online before he was shot, cheap geriforte online made to confess that his books were just an elaborate cover for espionage. At the heart of this book are the stories of two extraordinary young men, cheap geriforte online Thomas Sgovio and Victor Herman; both were seized, cheap geriforte online tortured and sent to some of the worst Gulag camps, cheap geriforte online at which the great majority of the inmates died from starvation, cheap geriforte online disease, cheap geriforte online overwork and physical abuse. Thanks to their physical toughness (Herman was a keen boxer who, cheap geriforte online when placed in a cell full of psychopathic Russian criminals whose task it was to kill him, cheap geriforte online pulverised two of them and was then accepted into their gang), cheap geriforte online and thanks also to some extraordinary good luck, cheap geriforte online both survived. Decades later, cheap geriforte online both returned to America, cheap geriforte online and wrote detailed accounts of their experiences. More of the article can be read at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/07/20/botzo120.xml