Alexander Dolgun’s Story has ratings and 35 reviews. Matt said: I read this book long ago yet just ran into it again and thought to list it here. The. Alexander Dolgun was a U.S. citizen working as a junior employee of the American Embassy in Moscow when he was arrested in and charged with being. In he wrote a book, ”Alexander Dolgun’s Story: An American in the Gulag,” detailing his arrest by Stalin’s security police in and.

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Alexander Dolgun was a U.

alexander dolgun

Dolgun was initially incarcerated at Lefortovo and Lubyanka prisons in Moscow until he was sent to Steplag in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. He was released from the Gulag in but was not allowed to leave the country until solgun only then because of the continual efforts of his sister, an official at the United Nations.

Alexander Dolgun was arrested in Moscow in while walking to lunch just two blocks from his job at the American Embassy. He was taken to Lubyanka alezander where a guard told him to take off his clothes. I sat down on the chair and began to pull them off. When I looked up he had my jacket spread on the table and was ripping the seams with a knifeā€¦He felt inside the lining and the lapels.

He ripped out the shoulder pads. Then he picked up my shoes and went at the soles with his knife. He alexaander out the steel reinforcing shank and put the shoes back on the floor, the soles flapping. Then he took my tie alexanfer shoelaces and belt and knocked for the door to be opened.

Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives | Days and Lives

People died every day, especially the older men. As the weather got colder the rate of deaths increased. We were issued gloves and padded jackets and trousers, but they were badly worn and not much protection as the temperature began to drop.


My hands were always cold. At those altitudes, with no bodies of water and no vegetation to moderate the temperature, September slips dolgub winter very quickly. Cold numbed fingers could not hold onto handles and levers and timbers and crates, and there were many accidents, often fatal.

One man was crushed when we were rolling logs off of a flat car, using two logs as a ramp. He was buried when twenty or more logs let loose at once and he was not fast enough. If you dropped below your norm, you got a lower ration. With lower rations you would be too weak to maintain whatever percentage of the norm you had been achieving, and so your ration would be lowered again. Finally it would be reduced to the starvation ration. At that point, without some supplementary food, a prisoner would simply starve to death.

The food was scarce unless you were ingenious, and even then it lacked vitamins.

Alexander Dolgun

Vitamin-deficiency diseases like scurvy and pellagra were common and sometimes fatal. Communication between prisoners was strictly monitored. A kind of Morse code had been developed of the letters of the Russian alphabet. The whole goddamn alphabet! How could I have missed it for so long? My first impression was of bedlam. The cell reverberated with chatter.

Later I counted and found that we were people in a cell sixteen feet wide and about forty feet long.

Alexander Dolgun – Wikipedia

Two layers of bunks, which were nothing more than hard plank platforms, ran down each of the long sides and across the end. At the far end was a large window, open in the warm air, with bars on the outside. In the glare from the window it was hard to see the far end of the cell clearly, but I know that it was already packed with people standing on the floor and sitting or lying on or under the sleeping platforms.


They looked at us as if we were exhibits in a zoo. They were rotated from post to post frequently, and from camp to camp, to ensure that they formed no friendships with the prisoners. It would have been bad for morale if the guards discovered that we were human beings and that most of us were serving our sentences for modest offenses or for no offense at all.

Solitary confinement was especially difficult for prisoners. Dolgun devised numerous ways to remain sane. A favorite was 13 Rue Madeleine, a story of commandos and the Gestapo and parachuting into occupied France.

I held my own private screening several times. I started lectures in world geography, calling up everything I could remember about rainfall, population, industry, vegetation, rivers, towns, dolgkn structure, and all the rest. Once she became aware that he had been arrested, she tried to get him released from prison but was told by U.

He was released from prison in but was not allowed to leave the alezander until He was married in He finally received his American passport in and was flown to the U. Item List Alexander Dolgun.