Alexander Solzhenitsyn — страница 2

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as a mathematician, been transferred to a so-called sharashia, where he spent four years; and later, during his exile, he was allowed to teach mathematics and physics, which helped to ease his existence and made it possible for him to write. If he had had a literary education it is quite likely that he should not have survived these ordeals but would instead have been subjected to even greater pressures. Later on, it is true, Alexander Isayevich began to get some literary education as well; this was from 1939 to 1941, during which time, along with university studies in physics and mathematics, he also studied by correspondence at the Institute of History, Philosophy and Literature in Moscow. In 1941, a few days before the outbreak of the war, Solzhenitsyn graduated from the

Department of Physics and Mathematics at Rostov University. At the beginning of the war, owing to weak health, he was detailed to serve as a driver of horsedrawn vehicles during the winter of 1941-1942. Later, because of his mathematical knowledge, he was transferred to an artillery school, from which, after a crash course, he passed out in November 1942. Immediately after this he was put in command of an artillery-position-finding company, and in this capacity, served, without a break, right in the front line until he was arrested in February 1945. This happened in East Prussia, a region which is linked with his destiny in a remarkable way. As early as 1937, as a first-year student, he chose to write a descriptive essay on "The Samsonov Disaster" of 1914 in East

Prussia and studied material on this; and in 1945 he himself went to this area (at the time of writing, autumn 1970, the book August 1914 has just been completed). Solzhenitsyn was arrested on the grounds of what the censorship had found during the years 1944-1945 in his correspondence with a school friend, mainly because of certain disrespectful remarks about Stalin, although they referred to him in disguised terms. As a further basis for the "charge", there were used the drafts of stories and reflections which had been found in his map case. These, however, were not sufficient for a "prosecution", and in July 1945 he was "sentenced" in his absence, in accordance with a procedure then frequently applied, after a resolution by the OSO (the Special

Committee of the NKVD), to eight years in a detention camp (at that time this was considered a mild sentence). Solzhenitsyn served the first part of my sentence in several correctional work camps of mixed types (this kind of camp is described in the play, The Tenderfoot and the Tramp). In 1946, as a mathematician, he was transferred to the group of scientific research institutes of the MVD-MOB (Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of State Security). He spent the middle period of his sentence in such "SPECIAL PRISONS" (The First Circle). In 1950 he was sent to the newly established "Special Camps" which were intended only for political prisoners. In such a camp in the town of Ekibastuz in Kazakhstan (One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich), he worked as a

miner, a bricklayer, and a foundryman. There he contracted a tumour, which was operated on, but the condition was not cured (its character was not established until later on). One month after he had served the full term of his eight-year sentence, there came, without any new judgement and even without a "resolution from the OSO", an administrative decision to the effect that he was not to be released but EXILED FOR LIFE to Kok-Terek (southern Kazakhstan). This measure was not directed specially against him, but was a very usual procedure at that time. He served this exile from March 1953 (on March 5th, when Stalin's death was made public, he was allowed for the first time to go out without an escort) until June 1956. Here his cancer had developed rapidly, and at the end

of 1953, he was very near death. He was unable to eat; he could not sleep and was severely affected by the poisons from the tumour. However, he was able to go to a cancer clinic at Tashkent, where, during 1954, he was cured (The Cancer Ward, Right Hand). During all the years of exile, Solzhenitsyn taught mathematics and physics in a primary school and during his hard and lonely existence he wrote prose in secret (in the camp he could only write down poetry from memory). He managed, however, to keep what he had written, and to take it with him to the European part of the country, where, in the same way, he continued, as far as the outer world was concerned, to occupy himself with teaching and, in secret, to devote himself to writing, at first in the Vladimir district (Matryona's