For twenty-three years, from 1950 to 1973, Arkady Polishchuk, a Russian Jew, worked as a journalist for Russian media, and for much of that time he also worked on behalf of persecuted Jews and Christians who were denied emigration. His memoir, told with humor and irony, chronicles unbelievable suffering, forced labor, show-trials, constant surveillance. He lived in the fear that soon, he too, will be targeted. After he was given permission to emigrate in 1977, he continued working to end these abuses. This book was eye-opening for me. I’d been aware of the human rights abuses in Russia during that time. But when a name, a face, is put on the suffering it becomes all too real, almost unbelievable. It describes a depressing life, where a three-bedroom apartment will house three families, where all too often people live on the edge of starvation. Where people can just disappear. But it is told in such a matter-of-fact manner. That’s what life is like, don’t worry about it. Reading this was sometimes difficult, but it was good for me, made me think about how much we take our life, our human rights, for granted.
eGalley review Publication date 7.31.18