"My Grandpa Survived 15 Years of Siberia's GULAG" by Laura J.
My granddad on my mother’s side was an amazing storyteller. He had a lot of interesting live stories that we heard with great interest. He had tremendous memory on names; he could remember them over the time of 30-40 years. Grandpa had a good sense of humor; it was always interesting to spend time with him. My granddaddy was the kindest man that I had ever seen. And what is more he didn’t try to expose this kindness openly, he just did good things quietly and silently.
My grandmamma was a very charismatic person. She was not of those who talk a lot, but when she began to talk every one else automatically, unwittingly lapsed into silence. She never reproached, never humiliated anybody, but raised the significance of people. Sometimes I think that she knew everything that I felt, thought about, like she could read my mind. Never did she make me feel myself miserable, unhappy. On the contrary, she cheered me up, inspired me to be better without words, one look from her was enough to feel it. My grandparents were totally unconflictive people. There was a true deep love between them. And they shared this love with us. My grandpa outlived my grandma only on 48 days, he couldn’t live without her. They showed us a great example of love that lasted nearly 50 years.
Also I have grandpa from father’s side. He was legendary man. He studied at MGU and was an excellent student giving a huge hope. Unfortunately I have never seen him. He died 3 years before my birth, at the age of 83. He had a severe fate. At the dawn of his age he was sent to exile in to the most horrible gulag in Siberia, where he survived 15 years. My father told me that at that tormented place every one respected my granddad, because of his justice, erudition, wide reading and strength of will. Every day people next to him died, but he told to himself not to give up, repeating again and again: ‘”I will survive”.
My Grandpa was sent to gulag as a nationalist (racist). Well actually he was studying Moscow University, and once when he came to his native town in Kazakhstan he saw famine and poverty. After coming back to Moscow he went to Kremlin several times, in order to talk over this problem with Stalin. But there it was interpreted like nationalism, although my Grandfather was talking about Ukrainian people too (they had the same situation as Kazakhstan had). It was in 1937, the time of Stalin’s repressions, when every one who had any slightest kind of threat to the government was sent to exile. My granddad in spite of everything survived. After that he taught a higher mathematics at university, and students called him “friend of people”, because he always stood up for ordinary people. On one of his classes he was given a letter where he read: “unguilty”. Tears welled up in his eyes. He was waiting for these words for many years being 15 agonizing years in gulag. All the time up to his death my grandfather was walking with papers on which he was solving difficult math problems.
I wish I knew him.