Gulag Quotes

Quotes tagged as "gulag" (showing 1-30 of 30)
Milan Kundera
“The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything....The novelist teaches the reader to comprehend the world as a question. There is wisdom and tolerance in that attitude. In a world built on sacrosanct certainties the novel is dead. The totalitarian world, whether founded on Marx, Islam, or anything else, is a world of answers rather than questions. There, the novel has no place.”
Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Milan Kundera
“Totalitarianism is not only hell, but all the dream of paradise-- the age-old dream of a world where everybody would live in harmony, united by a single common will and faith, without secrets from one another. Andre Breton, too, dreamed of this paradise when he talked about the glass house in which he longed to live. If totalitarianism did not exploit these archetypes, which are deep inside us all and rooted deep in all religions, it could never attract so many people, especially during the early phases of its existence. Once the dream of paradise starts to turn into reality, however, here and there people begin to crop up who stand in its way. and so the rulers of paradise must build a little gulag on the side of Eden. In the course of time this gulag grows ever bigger and more perfect, while the adjoining paradise gets even smaller and poorer.”
Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“...you are strong only as long as you don't deprive people of everything. For a person you've taken everything from us no longer in your power. He's free all over again.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“This it is that we always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap.”
Solzjenitsyn Alexander
tags: gulag

Herta Müller
“To combat death you don't need much of a life, just one that isn't yet finished.”
Herta Müller, The Hunger Angel

Orlando Figes
“Sveta had much less to say, but she sat with Lev and held his hand, and when I asked her what had made her fall in love with him, she replied, ‘I knew he was my future. When he was not there, I would look for him, and he would always appear by my side. That is love.’

Sveta”
Orlando Figes, Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“But it is impossible to picture any of our interrogators, right up to Abakumov and Beria, wanting to slip into prisoner's skin even for one hour, or feeling compelled to sit and meditate in solitary confinement.

Their branch of service does not require them to be educated people of broad culture and broad views - and they are not. Their branch of service does not require them to think logically - and they do not. Their branch of service requires only that they carry out orders exactly and be impervious to suffering - and that is what they do and what they are. We who have passed through their hands feel suffocated when we think of the legion, which is stripped bare of universal human ideals.”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

Varlam Shalamov
“If bones could freeze, then the brain could also be dulled and the soul could freeze over. And the soul shuddered and froze- perhaps to remain frozen forever.”
Varlam Shalamov, Kolyma Tales

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“If it were possible for any nation to fathom another people's bitter experience through a book, how much easier its future fate would become and how many calamities and mistakes it could avoid. But it is very difficult. There always is this fallacious belief: 'It would not be the same here; here such things are impossible.'

Alas, all the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Els dirigents passen, l'Arxipèlag perdura.”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
tags: gulag

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“To outsmart you they thought up work squads—but not squads like the ones outside the camps, where everyone is paid his separate wage. Everything was so arranged in the camp that the prisoners egged one another on. It was like this: either you all got a bit extra or you all croaked. You're loafing you bastard—do you think I'm willing to go hungry just because of you? Put your guts into it, slob.”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

Vasily Grossman
“And this man, who during three long decades had not once remembered that the world contains lilac bushes - and pansies, sandy garden paths, little carts with containers of fizzy water - this man gave a deep sigh, convinced now that life had gone on in his absence, that life had continued. (pg8)”
Vasily Grossman, Forever Flowing

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“When our life crackles and sparks like a torch, we curse the necessity of spending eight hours uselessly in sleep. When we have been deprived of everything, when we have been deprived of hope, then bless you, fourteen hours of sleep!”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books I-II

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“All history is one continuous pestilence. There is no truth and there is no illusion. There is nowhere to appeal and nowhere to go.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Work, he reckoned, was the best medicine of all.
Work is what horses die of. Everybody should know that.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

John  Sweeney
“Satellite technology is a wonderful thing. From space, we can stare down and look at perimeter fences, huts, mine entrances and even sites of mass graves.”
John Sweeney, North Korea Undercover: Inside the World's Most Secret State

Milan Kundera
“...his [Mayakovsky] genius was as indispensable to the Russian Revolution as Dzherzhinsky's police. Lyricism, lyricization, lyrical talk, lyrical enthusiasm are an integrating part of what is called the totalitarian world; that world is not the gulag as such; it's a gulag that has poems plastering its outside walls and people dancing before them.”
Milan Kundera, Testaments Betrayed: An Essay in Nine Parts

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Erano queste le nostre camere della morte. Ci mancava il gas per fare le camere a gas.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books III-IV

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Where an open war is impossible, oppression can continue quietly behind the scenes. Terrorism. Guerrilla warfare, violence, prisons, concentration camps. I ask you: Is this peace?

The true antipode of peace is violence. And those who want peace in the world should remove not only war from the world but also violence. If there is no open war but there is still violence, that is not peace.”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Warning to the West

Александр Солженицын
“Иногда мы хотим солгать, а Язык нам не даёт. Этих людей объявляли изменниками, но в языке примечательно ошиблись — и судьи, и прокуроры, и следователи. И сами осуждённые, и весь народ, и газеты повторили и закрепили эту ошибку, невольно выдавая правду; их хотели объявить изменниками РодинЕ, но никто не говорил и не писал даже в судебных материалах иначе, как "изменники Родины".

Ты сказал! Это были не изменники ей, а её изменники. Не они, несчастные, изменили Родине, но расчётливая Родина изменила им [...]”
Александр Солженицын, Архипелаг ГУЛАГ. Полное издание в одном томе

Evgenia Ginzburg
“Ahora, cuando estoy llegando al final de mi vida, lo sé con toda certeza: Anton Walter tenía razón. En cada corazón late un mea culpa, y sólo hay que saber cuándo prestará oído el hombre a esas dos palabras que resuenan en lo más hondo de su ser.
Durante las noches de insomnio se oyen muy claramente. Esas noches de insomnio en las que, como dice Pushkin, todos «releemos la vida con horror», y nos estremecemos, y maldecimos. En el insomnio, la conciencia no se consuela por no haber participado directamente en los asesinatos y en las traiciones. Porque no sólo mata el que asesta el golpe, sino los que han avivado su odio. De uno u otro modo. Repitiendo irreflexivamente peligrosas fórmulas teóricas. Levantando en silencio la mano derecha. Escribiendo cobardemente una verdad a medias. Mea culpa… Y creo, cada vez más, que dieciocho años de infierno en la tierra no bastan para una culpa como ésta.”
Evgenia Ginzburg, Within the Whirlwind

C.G. Faulkner
“You know I won’t take a chance with your lives…” Ethan replied. “You’re the future of the Fortner family.” He smiled and took her hand in his. “Like I said, don’t worry…before you know it you’ll have Jeff back and you can tell him he’s going to be a father!”
C.G. Faulkner, White Room: A Cold War Thriller

“Жестокость обязательно подстилается сентиментальностью. Это закон дополнения.”
Александр Солженицын.

Varlam Shalamov
“For many months there day and night, at the morning and the evening checks, innumerable execution orders were read out. In a temperature of fifty below zero [Fahrenheit] the musicians from among the non-political offenders played a flourish before and after each order was read. The smoking gasoline torches ripped apart the darkness…. The thin sheet on which the order was written was covered with hoarfrost, and some chief or other who was reading the order would brush the snowflakes from it with his sleeve so as to decipher and shout out the name of the next man on the list of those shot.”
Varlam Shalamov, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books III-IV

“By the late Stalin period, the right of complaint was so thoroughly a part of this political culture, in which civil law and litigation were frequently meaningless, that there were special mailboxes in the concentration camps of the Gulag labeled, "To the Supreme Soviet", "To the Council of Ministers", "To the Minister of Internal Affairs", and "To the Prosecutor General".”
Lynne Viola

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“​Those prisoners who had been in Buchenwald and survived were, in fact, imprisoned for that very reason in our own camps: How could you have survived an annihilation camp? Something doesn't smell right!​”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

Dalia Grinkevičiūtė
“We’ve covered ourselves with everything we own, plus a snow blanket on top. It does provide warmth. The snow is everywhere - our pillows, our hair. You stick your head out, take a deal breath, slip under the covers again and breathe out. Feels warm. The snow on your hair melts, then turns to ice. A winter hat. Silence. Darkness... The only thing visible is the snow.”
Dalia Grinkevičiūtė, Shadows on the Tundra

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Marx, concerning himself with a less remote time ("Critique of the Gotha Program"), declared with equal conviction that the one and only means of correcting offenders (true, he referred to criminals; he never even conceived that his pupils might consider politicals offenders) was not solitary contemplation, not moral soul-searching, not repentance, and not languishing (for all that was superstructures!)—but productive labor. He himself had never taken a pick in hand. To the end of his days he never pushed a wheelbarrow, mined coal, felled timber, and we don't even know how his firewood was split—but he wrote that down on paper, and the paper did not resist.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books III-IV

“Creo que con lo expuesto aquí queda demostrado que en el exterminio de millones de hombres, y en su destierro al Gulag, hubo una coherencia fría y meditada y un incansable tesón.
Que en nuestro país las cárceles nunca estuvieron vacías, sino repletas o incluso atiborradas.
Que mientras vosotros andabais gratamente ocupados con los inofensivos secretos del átomo, estudiabais la influencia de Heidegger en Sartre, coleccionabais reproducciones de Picasso, viajabais en coche-cama a los balnearios o terminabais de edificar vuestra dacha en las afueras de Moscú, los "cuervos" recorrían incansablemente las calles y la Seguridad del Estado llamaba, con los nudillos o el timbre, a las puertas.
Y creo que con lo expuesto queda demostrado también que los Órganos jamás vivieron de la sopa boba.”
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, ARCHIPIELAGO GULAG I

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“You know who dies first, the guy who licks our bowls and puts his faith in the sick bay, or sequels to the godfather.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
tags: gulag