Yiddish Memoir About WWII Years in USSR Now Available in English Translation


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In 1939, Yitzkhak Erlichson, a nineteen-year-old Jew, fled the German occupation of Wierzbnik, his hometown in Poland, for the Soviet Union, where he spent the next four years. His escape placed him out of the reach of the Nazis but did not spare him the ordeal of prison and labor camps. Though Erlichson had hoped to find justice and brotherhood in Russia, he was arrested as an “English spy” immediately after his arrival there. When he attempted to join the Polish army that was forming in the Soviet Union he was turned away because he was Jewish. After the war, he returned to Poland and discovered that none of his family had survived the Holocaust.

By 1947, Erlichson was living in Paris, and, in 1953, published his memoir, Mayne fir yor in Sovyet Rusland (My Four Years in Soviet Russia) under the pen name, Yitzkhok Edison. The book is now available in an English translation by Maurice Wolfthal published by Academic Studies Press.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

The original Yiddish edition of this book is available in the YIVO Library as:

Mayne fir yor in Soṿyeṭ-Rusland
מײנע פיר יאר אין סאװיעט־רוסלאנד
Jerzy Edison עדיסאן, יצחק.
Pariz : o. fg.; פאריז : אפ״ג 1953
 (00042146 )

5 thoughts on “Yiddish Memoir About WWII Years in USSR Now Available in English Translation

  1. How do I find out about Gladilo, a Russian “Family Labor Camp” in the Archangelsk Oblast where my husband was born in 1941. His parents fled to Russia from Poland when the Nazis came because it was already too late to flee West. Can you help me? There is nothing on the Internet, though I once saw Gladilo on an old Russian map of these camps which was there but has since been taken down. Thanks.

  2. Erlichson does not mention that camp by name, but he does say that it seemed to him that the camps were very numerous, with large prison populations. He also says that some camps were known by a number rather than a real name. You might try consulting Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago,” Applebaum’s “Gulag: A History,” or Rossi’s “The Gulag Handbook.” Good luck with your search!

  3. I was born in Warsaw in1938, escaped with my family to USSR and was deported to Gladilo. My older sister and cousin were there too and they remember more than I. What would you like to know about Gladilo.

    • Anything you can tell me about the place including exactly where it was and if it exists today. My late husband was born there. His name was Tadek Korn and lived there with his parents until they were transferred to a similar camp in Uzbekistan until the end of the wae. What were the conditions there? What was the housing like. Can you describe a typical day? What did the laborer so Do? How cold was it? Tad never spoke of Gladilo. I only knew he was in a camp because he said his parents escaped to Archangelsk to avoid the Nazis in Poland. I found out by accident it was Gladilo but found no information on all og Google about it. Please write back—–anything you or your family can think of. Thanks. Can send to Tonniekatz@aol.com.

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