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 I never knew about this, order medithin cod did you? The Forsaken: Americans in Stalin's gulags Noel Malcolm reviews The Forsaken: From the Great Depression to the Gulags by Tim Tzouliadis http://www.independent.ie/multimedia/archive/00193/ussr_193726b.jpg http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/graphics/2008/07/20/botzo120.jpg Americans baseball team in Gorky Park, order medithin cod Moscow, order medithin cod 1934 Russia in the late 1930s was not a good place to be. People really did sleep in their outdoor clothes, order medithin cod with a ready-packed suitcase at their bedside, order medithin cod waiting for the NKVD (the secret police) to knock on the door. You could be arrested and killed for a joke, order medithin cod for a factual remark about a food shortage, order medithin cod or for failing to denounce other people, order medithin cod including your immediate family. And you could also be arrested and killed for nothing at all, order medithin cod since the NKVD, order medithin cod like other elements of the Soviet economy, order medithin cod had productivity targets to meet Anyone who was different was suspect. In 1937, order medithin cod 53 members of a deaf-mutes' association were arrested in Leningrad, order medithin cod and 33 were sentenced to death for conducting 'conspiracies' in sign-language. Stamp-collectors, order medithin cod who had shown an unhealthy interest in letters from foreign countries, order medithin cod were hunted down, order medithin cod and so too were people who had learnt Esperanto. If life was as bad as this for Russians, order medithin cod just think how bad it must have been for people who were trying to live like Russians, order medithin cod but were in fact Americans. Not tourists, order medithin cod businessmen, order medithin cod or diplomats; no, order medithin cod these were just ordinary working people, order medithin cod who had moved to the Soviet Union. Their total number is unknown, order medithin cod but it must have run to several thousands, order medithin cod 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, order medithin cod or left-wingers whose trade-union activism had cost them their jobs in the US. But most were just looking for work, order medithin cod having lost their jobs in the way that millions of other Americans lost theirs, order medithin cod in the Great Depression. While American industry contracted, order medithin cod Russia had been recruiting skilled technicians, order medithin cod 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, order medithin cod life was good for most of these immigrants - better, order medithin cod certainly, order medithin cod than the life of the unemployed in the US. They were fêted by the Russian media, order medithin cod and the authorities allowed major stadiums to be used for their baseball matches. The workers of the world were able to unite at last, order medithin cod it seemed, order medithin cod losing their chains but not their bats and gloves. True, order medithin cod there were a few little warning signs. Many of the immigrants were relieved of their American passports on arrival, order medithin cod never to see them again. Order medithin cod (Suitably doctored, order medithin cod 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, order medithin cod thereby losing the protection of international law; and some found that they had taken it up unknowingly, order medithin cod having been made to sign forms in Russian which they could not read. But with the onset of the Terror, order medithin cod it hardly mattered what anyone had signed. To visit the American Embassy in Moscow, order medithin cod in order to register US citizenship, order medithin cod was in many cases to write one's own death sentence: NKVD men waited on the other side of the street, order medithin cod seized people as they emerged, order medithin cod and bundled them into vans. Nor were the most prominent and idealistic pro-Communists immune from arrest - rather the opposite. Reverend Julius Hecker, order medithin cod a Methodist from Columbia University who had published several books in the US defending Communism, order medithin cod was arrested, order medithin cod tortured and, order medithin cod before he was shot, order medithin cod 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, order medithin cod Thomas Sgovio and Victor Herman; both were seized, order medithin cod tortured and sent to some of the worst Gulag camps, order medithin cod at which the great majority of the inmates died from starvation, order medithin cod disease, order medithin cod overwork and physical abuse. Thanks to their physical toughness (Herman was a keen boxer who, order medithin cod when placed in a cell full of psychopathic Russian criminals whose task it was to kill him, order medithin cod pulverised two of them and was then accepted into their gang), order medithin cod and thanks also to some extraordinary good luck, order medithin cod both survived. Decades later, order medithin cod both returned to America, order medithin cod 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