[1]. I was arrested after the April, 1985 Plenum Session of the Central Committee of the CPSU, or in plain words - after Michail Gorbachev had assumed the reins of government.

       [2]. Well-known Israeli singer, representative of the "intellectual stream" on the Israeli stage.

       [3]. Nizhny Domanik - also known as "Children's Maidanek" or the "Bloody Special". Before I was there this camp had held Prisoner for Zion Grigory Geishis and the Political Prisoner Arseny Roginsky.

       [4]. “étape” - convict transport train, consisting of locomotive and a number of "Stolypin" carriages, whose compartments were designed for 8 persons, but the Soviet authorities manage to pack in 25-28 persons in each compartment, from which they are allowed out only once a day for three minutes toilet visit. Daily food rations consist of one salted herring, 0.5 pound of stale black bread, 1 cup of water. Journeys can take up to 3 months often without the prisoners being allowed out except at transfer stops where they are held in local prisons overnight.- Tr.

       [5] Article 70 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR: "Anti-Soviet or Propaganda. Punishable by imprisonment for up to seven years.-Tr.

       [6] "Mohican" - a slang term for a Ukrainian because of the shaven head except for the single top-notch tuft of hair favoured by Ukrainian Cossacks. –Tr.

       [7] "Gesher" - Hebrew for "Bridge". Books published in Israel, of literary merit, in simple Hebrew specially adapted for students of the language. –Tr.

       [8] The main part of the Kresty Prison is in two blocks, which, if seen from above, form a cross - hence its name. One arm of the cross is the investigation isolator - the other is for convicted men, who are held there after trial until they are sent to wherever they will serve their sentences, or to the Appel Prison in Vyborg. Each arm of the cross has 500 cells. In the dark days of tsarism each cell held one or two prisoners; now they normally accommodate 8 to 12 prisoners in each cell. In addition there is a women's block, built in Soviet times, and the prison chapel which is used as a club for "balandas" - prisoners employed in the prison service.

       [9] "khimia" - the convicted person is sent to a specified place for compulsory labour, but not with deprivation of liberty, i.e. not in prison conditions, where he is paid for his work and has a fixed (fairly high) proportion of his wages deducted as a fine to be paid to the government. -Tr.

       [10] "Grapevine" - the zek's system of inter-cell communication. Its organisation and operation could well be the subject of a separate narrative account.

       [11] "across the river" - on the other bank of the River Neva, facing the Kresty Prison, stands a large building of the KGB headquarters, well-known to all Leningraders by the title "The Big House".

       [12] "Fur coat" (in Russian - shuba) is what the zeks call the gravel impregnated plaster whose surface is so rough that it is well-nigh impossible to write on it.

       [13] "Coffin" - an indispensable part of Soviet prisons. It consists of an iron-clad box with just enough room for one person, a door and a lock. You might be called to the investigator who is still busy with someone else. You can't be left in the corridor - you might meet a "trusty" or hear or see something or someone undesirable and you can't be left unsupervised. To take you back to your cell and bring you out again when the investigator is free would be too cumbersome. So, in such cases (and sometimes purely out of spite or as a punishment), they put you in one of these "coffins" fixed vertically to the walls of the prison until your turn comes.

       [14] The zeks are also encouraged to inform on the screws. This method of "being established on the road to reform" was proposed to me in the "operative" section of Domanik precisely three days after my arrival there, i.e. to inform about the illegal activities of the sergeants, such as selling vodka or tea to the zeks. My refusal astonished and offended the lieutenant. "You're not very intelligent! You surely can't be that crazy?”

       [15] The days have gone when the zeks, as in Solzhenitsyn's "Ivan Denisovitch" could walk freely about the camp. Those days have gone. In our more liberal time the camp-zone is fenced off into cages - called "locals", the keys to which are held by the camp-police who are recruited from the "goats". You can only walk within the confines of the "local" of your own section. It's quite a tough job to get out of the "local" to visit friends in another section or to go off to the library, the parcels office, the sanitary section or the camp shop.

       [16] In the letter I wrote the song in its original Hebrew.

       [17] "The chase" - this is the name given by the zeks to the condition known to every prisoner when you are completely laden down with the "non-prisoners' world", thoughts of home, when you think with sorrow about the past and the dangers facing the future. These thoughts linked one to the other, quickly become so obtrusive that they take complete possession of you. The old lags know about this danger and know how to avoid it, but the new boys frequently become victims of "the chase".

       [18] Religious books of all kinds are strictly forbidden in the GULAG.

       [19] Gorbachev's speech was not sent. However I did get a book of verses dedicated to Lenin and published in Tel Aviv under the auspices of the Israeli Communist Party. I read it, although it's not exactly the best reading for a prisoner in the Soviet GULAG.

       [20] The zeks usually unite in small groups (2-12 people) called "families". Inside the "family" they socialize their scanty property.

       [21] Smuggled into the camp by Galia in a way that, for the time being, must not be made public.

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