The Guards Spoke Russian

Memoir of a Ukrainian Jew in a Soviet Gulag


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About the Book

Aryeh Malkish, a Ukrainian Jew, was an engineering student in Ryazan when the KGB arrested him in 1969 for organizing a group of political dissidents. He was sent to the gulag for seven years, where Ukrainians accounted for nearly half of Russia’s millions of political prisoners. Originally published in 1978, his trenchant memoir vividly describes life in a Soviet labor camp, where disfiguring pathologies flourished in an atmosphere of unrelenting suspicion and cruelty and intrenched antisemitism.

About the Author(s)

Aryeh Malkish was born and raised in the Ukraine and spent seven years in the Russian Gulag for political prisoners. He then fled to Israel and taught Hebrew and the Bible there for decades. He lives in Harish, Israel.

Bibliographic Details

Aryeh Malkish

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 166
Bibliographic Info: 7 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9151-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4944-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword: Of Past and Future 1
Preface 5
Change of destination 7
Hidden light 10
A day in the cell 14
Domovoy (the poltergeist) 19
Rest 20
Toes the line 20
The camp 23
A Brahmin in solitary 25
Jews in the camp 32
The operating methods of the KGB 34
Prisoners’ pathologies 36
Corruption 41
The liberators are coming! 43
Divide and rule 49
The slave mentality 52
The surprise 53
The Jewish “conspiracy” 56
Nixon to you! 60
A new man 61
The big transfer from Mordovia to the Urals 63
The ship of fools 71
Back to the wire 76
Minus 54º Centigrade 78
The kidnapped spring 82
A white cockroach 84
Two months in solitary 89
The usual way 93
The cell is flooded 99
Triangle 105
Criminal-political 107
A Chinese meal 108
News of the imprisonment 109
“I’d like to die” 111
Working flesh 116
The monastery of silence 117
Jacob and the cannibal 118
The dam burst 125
The whirlpool of terror 133
Gog and Magog 137
A violent departure 141
The Urals again 146
Toward the exodus 153
Index 154