Slavomir Rawicz Message Board
Anatol Vasilevsky posts on 10/23/2006 11:54:43 AM
Message 1. General Remarks
I have bought “The Long Walk” at a used-book sale (the first edition of 1956 with Foreword by R. Downing) and read it. I was both interested and puzzled. On the one hand, we’ve got a compelling story with a lot of true details, some practically unnoticeable, like a small one mentioned in passing in Mongolia crossing which might speak volumes, descriptions generally consistent with numerous memoirs (like prisons), On the other, there are clear inconsistencies, (like the trial), doubtful situations and incidents, odd statements and strangely inexplicable omissions. The story also contains a few interesting factual errors, even though some, but not all, understandable. (Everything I an saying here only relates to Mr. Ravicz’s Soviet and Mongolian experience ( I have neither knowledge, nor experience to make comments on crossing Goby and Himalayas). I was intrigued and made an inquiry about Camp 303 at the organization that has been collecting data on Soviet camps since Glasnost. With so many contradictions the story is in some ways a riddle. It is just natural opinions abound including the extreme views that it is all true and it is all lies. A few participants in the forum remarked with common sense that whatever it might be it is a good story either way. As they would say in the Soviet camps “Ne verish? Primi za skazku! –approx. Don’t believe it? Take it for a tale!” Right! And Mr. Ravicz should get credit for creating it. A good story, however, deserves a good research and analysis, a controversial story, in particular. Let’s hope some day it will get them. There are dozens of testimonials of former Soviet prisoners published in English, Russian and other languages, as well as special studies of Gulag by Solzhenitsin, Conquest, and others. So it is possible to say something even now. It .would not be correct to ignore all the data in considering the book. ( I don’t know what concrete facts the critics of Mr. Ravicz have given earlier, I only have the data in the current forum available) It is not difficult to give examples contradicting either of the extreme views in the forum. What it means is another matter. Let us first view the facts and then come to the conclusions. I’ll try to give short balanced factual comments on the chapters of the first half of the book in a number of further messages explaining the above remarks in detail. I’ll be grateful for any contribution, response, or comments. A.V to be continued
posts on 10/2/2006 8:40:03 AM
A new edition is now available,also on CD and MP3.Also a radio 4 programme on 30th October.If you have the money we will make the film.
posts on 10/1/2006 5:21:24 PM
I just finished the book. It was a great book. I immediately turned to the internet to find more information. I am sad to hear that people do not believe Mr. Rawicz's story. I do believe the story is REAL. I can remember my great-grandfather telling stories of his hardships during the great depression and I never thought that he would make up such sad or funny stories. Rawicz family - I do believe your father went through what he said and I am sorry that people can be cruel.
I LOVED the book. It was loaned out to me by a friend but I think I will go out to purchase a copy for myself. I actually cried reading the book. I was sad to know that Mr. Rawicz was never to hear from his family in Poland or his friends.
As I read through the forum, it mention about making a movie. I would love to see it. Any more info about it's release or just talk?
posts on 9/29/2006 5:38:25 AM
Thanks andy for your sensible comments
posts on 9/27/2006 10:29:58 PM
I finished the book. I give Rawicz the benefit of the doubt for the following reasons:
- Skeptics will always doubt. Some people still think the moon landing was a hoax and some Christians still think the earth is flat.
- The details in the book do not seem to be fictitious to me. There are intimate details which reflect well on the regions, people and time.
- If it was a fictitios story, then Rawicz would not have brought the topic of Yeti. He surely would have known that it invited ridicule.
- Considering the millions of people who lived and died in the Gulag, it's ridiculous to think that Rawics's records could be traced. Some information has not even been classified by the Russians yet.
- His experience of sleep walking in Calcutta and his nightmare of hiding bread and trying to escape the Russians sounds too real to be fiction.
- My Dad's aunt and her family walked from Burma to SriLanka during that time due to the Japanese invasion of Burma. It was 1000-1500 miles and they too had to pass similar regions that Rawicz passed in the Himalayan regions.
posts on 9/26/2006 10:25:13 PM
I just want to point out to readers that they should not listen to Bill J...never trust anyone whos initials are BJ.
Also, you should know that some of the most credible human beings alive believe Slavomir's tale, and if it is good enough for them it is good enough for me. Slav was an incredible individual and he tells one of the most inspirational tales i have ever heard.
Dont listen to BJ just because he thinks he can formulate an argument well.
posts on 9/17/2006 7:25:08 PM
I am on page 50, Slavomir is about to enter camp-303. Though, I have not read the book completely yet, it's hard to believe that the details in the book so far has been made up. For those of the readers who are avid readers of History, you would have learned that the power of Humans to survive is amazing. We all came out of Africa and travelled as far as Australia through very inhospitable regions. Scott's 1913 Antarctic expedition is another example of the power of Humans to survive. The world population in 1940s was about 3 billion and it's very possible that a fraction of that population has the strength, determination and the will to survive Siberia, Gobi and the Himalayas. The man certainly deserves more respect and honor.
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