Slavomir Rawicz Message Board
kc posts on 5/10/2008 4:50:43 PM
confused and astounded google kresy-siberia group and you find answers to your questions and search...
Confused/Astounded posts on 5/3/2008 12:19:00 AM
Don't underestimate the fear and mistrust ex prisoners held for the soviet regime at that time. In the early 60's whilst my father was working and living in Botswana (then Betchuanaland) someone wrote an article about him in the context of work he was doing with lepors. He was implementing a new program which effectively did away with lepor colonies and moved towards treating suffer's within their own villages. When he found out the article was for international publication he refused to let them use his name. His photograph was in the article but throughout he was referred to as "the brilliant young Polish doctor". His fears were not so much for himself as for family members who now resided in the USSR.
He never lived to see the fall of the USSR. I don't know how he would have reacted, what stories he would have been free to tell.
I am still confused as to how this whole thing fits together. I am trying to make sense of a time line. My father went from India to England. I had assumed that this would only have occured if the war was over. I have since learned that many Poles were taken to England before the end of conflict and were retrained at British military bases. Maybe my fathers journey ended sooner than I had previously believed.
I know that Russia joined the allies and Polish prisoners were released from the camps while my fathers journey was in progress.
His time line and Rawicz's time line do not match - hence some of my confusion. Was my father one of Rawicz's companions and the times were deliberately altered in the book? Was my father's journey a similar yet completely independant journey? Did I get the whole thing wrong? Have I left it too late to ever find out?
George posts on 4/28/2008 1:06:21 AM
To Confused/Astounded : I was tempted to agree with you at first that Rawicz may have altered places, dates and names to protect people. Well, in theory that sounds sensible. However by 1956 Stalin had been dead for three years and the whole Soviet Union was engaged in a rehabilitating and forgeting the past exercise. There is little chnace that they would have punished the so called Ushakov or his wife for anything for allowing any escape. There were hundreds of thousands if not millions of prisoners all over the Soviet Union and a goodly percentage of them escaped. This escape would hardly have been noticed in 1956 when the book was published. Another point is that if Rawicz had wanted to clear the air over criticisms he could well have done so with no danger at all of reprisals in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. There is no proof that he did so. He was silent. Why? It is not enough to say as did one person on this board that he was a troubled man and forgot dates and other information. In the book he supposed to be able to recall such trivial details as meals and conversations yet he is said to be unable to tell us overall primary information. Hm, suspicious. I tend to go for the theory that the book was based on another's work. There is compelling evidence that this is so. This not an attack on him personally. he seems to have turned out a really great guy. But the book is spoiled for many by being patently inaccurate. Yes, read the book but remember it should be treated as fiction or only half factual.
KC posts on 4/26/2008 12:35:37 PM
The self written statement of Slav's where he discusses what happened to him with his amnesty and arrest was written I believe in Palestine. He was out of Russia and securely in the freedom of Anders army and the British forces. I have seen this statement. The reason for this statement is simple: When General Anders was reforming the Polish Army, he discovered that all of the Polish Army officers were missing. He asked that any Pole released under the Amnesty record their experience and tell the names of as many Poles that each person could remember to simply try and find where all Poles had been located and what happened to them. This was deemed to be a crucial record or document by Gen Anders. It was not a document to be taken lightly. Polish lives depended on it. I have seen many of these documents, as varied as they are, there is a similarity in format. Understand that it was thru these documents that a true understanding of events evolved. Sadly, what these records helped clarify was the Katyn Forest massacres where in aprox 20,000 to 25,000 polish officers and intellutuals were shots in the back of the head and put into mass graves. Google Katyn Forest massacres for further info. Also, there is a wonderful new movie called Katyn that shows the horror and sadness of theis episode. The point being is that Slav's own hand written statement of where he was and what his life was at that time was of national importance to any patriotic Pole thereby truth was imperative. That very document undoes Slav's book because he admits to have being amnestied in September but he claims to have escaped in april five months earlier. Also his arrival in India conflicts with the date of his written statement. Each Anders statement document taken was dated by the officer taking that statement.
Confused/Astounded posts on 4/12/2008 10:53:38 AM
Imagine being an officer fighting in Iraq when a deal is cut to end the war. Part of the deal gives a chunk of England (or the USA) to Al Qaeda and your homeland is now run by Osama bin Laden. You cannot go home - you will be tortured and shot as you had served on the enemy forces.
Your wife and children, your parents and friends all now live under this new regime. Anytime, they could be arrested, tortured or killed, simply because they are related to you.
You start a new lonely life in a strange place and you live in fear for your famliy.
This was what it was like for all the poles (and others) that found themselves in England after the war.
Perhaps Rawicz had been very careful to protect others when telling his story. The camp could not be traced because he planned it that way - to protect the wife of the commandant. Names, descriptions and dates changed deliberately.
Mr. Hopkins posts on 4/12/2008 5:44:01 AM
I was a friend of the late Slav and Marjorie, What people dont know is that Slav was a very sick troubled, man after his experiences, and it was on advice from his doctor that he wrote his book , not as a book at first, but to help him get over his nightmares, and to try and move on and get better. Then the book developed, and Marjorie helped through many painfull times to translate etc. So if some of the information or dates arnt a hundred percent correct , theres no wonder ! So all this speculation is ridiculous, the people that know the truth are not here to answer. But if you knew Slav and Marjorie like I did, !! There would be trouble. They were a lovely truthfull honest couple you could ever meet .
Marcus posts on 4/12/2008 12:46:11 AM
To J.H. We don't know what happened to the commandant, Ushakov, and his wife simply becasue they did not exist. Camp 303 has never been found. Any writer who ever wrote about their experiences in the gulag has always been able to tell where they were incarcerated. There was always proof of the existence of their gulg. For Rawicz there there simply is none. Why? becuase it didn't exist. The Long Walk is a book based on someone elses experiences and then dramatised for commercial purposes. Can you really climb the Himalayas in winter, survive for a week with no water or really see yetis? I am sorry but none of the book's events of characters has ever been confirmed. None. In fact it contains errors.
wbhm posts on 4/10/2008 11:36:27 AM
i came to this site to try to learn more. instead i have found a lot of people with too much free time on thier hands and that could take something good and try to turn into something bad.
please go do something productive.
George posts on 4/9/2008 1:29:05 AM
To Lester. Let's do a time line here to ascertain what we know about Rawicz movements. He says he is in a camp in Siberia, to the north east of Lake Baikal, then escaped from it in the spring of 1941. By October he says they had travelled south to Tibet and were ready to climb the Himalayas. Spring of 1942 they are in India recuperating. None of the above is verifiable. He then says he joined the Polish forces in June 1942, in Russia. The next date is October 1942 where at last we have something verifiable. He is released as part of a general amnesty. The part of the document which the BBC website shows contains an official stamp, marked Krasoyarsk. This is in central Siberia, well west of Lake Baikal and many hundreds of kilometres away from the camp he said he was incarcerated in. That's fine if he did in fact do the Long Walk, he could well have done this, gone back to the other part of Siberia at Krasnoyarsk. The question is why did he in his book merely say he had rejoined the Polish forces sometime in June 1942 and not mention his release in the amnesty? Very odd. One theory: He returned in June 1942 to the Polish army, based somewhere in Russia. Then he was sometime between June 1942 and October 1942 discovered as being the man who had been imprisoned on trumped up charges back in 1939 and who had been sent to the gulag 303. So he was imprisoned once more but then released in October 1942. That is, strictly speaking, all possible. If so, why did he not say anything about it? He mentions nothing about this at all but merely skims over that period. Surely it would have made fascinating reading as an extra appenidix to the book to have been recaptured and then released in this amnesty. Next point, the document which was found in the archives in the Sikorski Museum in London. The stamp which appears on it, from the authorities in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia has to be genuine. Stamps were and are well guarded by those in authority. They are kept under lock and key and only a very few people in any organisation have the right to stamp a document. That the stamp says Krasoyarsk on it is simply a fact. There is no attempt by anyone to re-create a stamp with that name on it or alter any dates. Lester I had to laugh out loud when you said that if the document was written in Russia then it could be the lie and not the book. A very illogical and partisan point of view. Are you saying that Rawicz was so important to the Soviet authorities that people got together, connived a fiction that he killed someone and then produced this stamp and made the document , all to make it look like he had killed someone when he in fact had not? It is stretching things a bit too far. Are you saying that all Soviets or all Russians are liars? The evidence seems to indicate to fair minded, not dewey eyed people that Rawicz was imprisoned sometime from the autumn of 1939 and was in Krasoyarsk until the amnesty of October 1942. He then rejoined the Polish forces. After this his movements can mostly be traced. Third point. That he was convicted of the murder of a NKVD agent is, I have to say, suspect. So the stamping and authorising of documents can be verified, dates and places can be traced, none of them would seem to have been forged or latered. HOWEVER, the pretext given for his imprisonment could well have been made up. Maybe, and I personally believe he was speaking the truth on this matter, there were trumped up charges as he wrote. This I think we can go along with. All in all, I don't think he did the Long Walk, but I also don't think he did this murder. I hope I have made things clearer and maybe together we can move forward in getting to the bottom of this intriguing matter.
Lester Hunt posts on 4/8/2008 2:44:11 PM
Maybe I should add that the BBC article I was referring to can be found by Googling Walking the Talk? by Hugh Levinson. ... This server does not allow posting URLs, so this is the best I can do to point you there.
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