My Journey: How One Woman Survived Stalin's Gulag

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Northwestern University Press, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 266 pages
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Olga Adamova-Sliozberg’s My Journey, not officially published in Russia until 2002 and here available in English for the first time, is one of the best known of all Gulag memoirs and was one of the first to become widely available in underground circulation. Alexander Solzhenitsyn relied heavily upon it when writing Gulag Archipelago, and it remains the best account of the daily life of women in the Soviet prison camps. 

Arrested along with her husband (who, she would much later learn, was shot the next day) in the great purges of the thirties, Adamova-Sliozberg decided to record her Gulag experiences a year after her arrest, and she “wrote them down in her head” (paper and pencils were not available to prisoners) every night for years. When she came back to Moscow after the war, in 1946, she wrote the memoir on paper for the first time and then buried it in the garden of the family dacha. After her re-arrest and seven more years of banishment in Kazakhstan, she returned to the dacha to dig up the buried memoir, but could not find it. So she sat down and wrote it all over again. In her later years she also added a collection of stories about her family. Concluding on a hopeful note—Adamova-Sliozberg’s record is cleared, she re-marries a fellow former-prisoner, and she is reunited with her children—this story is a stunning account of perseverance in the face of injustice and unimaginable hardship.

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About the author (2011)

Olga Adamova-Sliozberg (1902-1991) was arrested in Moscow in 1936 as the wife of "an enemy of the people." She was released ten years later, subsequently arrested again, and sent into exile for seven more years before being rehabilitated in 1956. In the 1940s, she began writing her memoir, which became well-known in underground editions and was finally officially published in Russian in its entirety in 2002. 

Katharine Gratwick Baker is a family systems consultant with an MA in Russian history from New York University and a PhD in social work from Catholic University.

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