By Slavomir Rawicz

The harrowing real story of escaped Soviet prisoners¿ determined march out of Siberia, via China, the Gobi barren region, Tibet, and over the Himalayas to British India.

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These different males, my fellow prisoners, have been even now being escorted in small batches into the backyard. i'll think my center thumping as I watched each of them arrive. I stared and stared. They eyed me and each other within the comparable method. We have been all trying to find anyone we knew. however the atypical factor borne in on me used to be that attractiveness used to be most unlikely. We have been all in entire and uniform conceal. We have been all longhaired and seriously bearded – I had no longer had a haircut or shave for almost a yr, however it had by no means happened to me that every one the others might were taken care of alike. Our outfits have been an analogous. after we had all been herded into the backyard there have been approximately one hundred fifty males like me all retaining directly to their trousers. 100 and fifty misplaced souls turning up within the similar pitiful gown at a few devil’s fancy costume ball, each one with a neat brown paper parcel in a single hand and a couple of trousers within the different. The corners of my mouth twitched and that i may nearly have laughed, yet by surprise I felt a choking wave of pity for us all that they need to make such fools people. This used to be my first stumble upon with the other prisoner. In Kharkov and the Lubyanka I had heard noises. I had heard males being shot. I had heard the grim howling of a guy who's going mad. I had listened to scrapings and tappings as if an individual was once attempting to converse with me via a cellphone wall. yet i used to be by no means allowed to satisfy any of the opposite unfortunates. Isolation used to be a part of the therapy and that i bought it in complete degree. The enterprise of assembling us, checking names opposed to records and counting heads took approximately hours. in this interval we have been all made to squat within the snow – one other defense rule. teams of a few dozen armed infantrymen stored watch on us. there has been little sunlight left after we have been ordered to our toes and loaded status into 5 canvas-topped military lorries. One lorry-load of infantrymen headed the convoy and one other within the rear. Tossed approximately and flung backward and forward, we have been pushed at breakneck pace for what approximately ten miles sooner than the brakes have been slammed on and we pitched ahead in mass. The convoy had stopped. In that brief, jolting journey, i'll believe a stressful, effervescent pleasure all around me. It was once a strange and robust adventure to be with different males back, to think the thump of one other shoulder, the pointy prod of an elbow within the ribs, to be reminded back of the scent of fellows in a packed crowd, to listen to exclamations in wealthy, colloquial Polish. yet that groovy surge of speak one may need anticipated didn't come. We have been to discover it took a few little time to recuperate the behavior of dialog. It got here again slowly in terms of shouted little questions and brief, jerky solutions. where the place the lorry convoy stopped was once a small station on a department line which I envisioned to be approximately 5 miles open air Moscow. a person later professed to grasp where, gave it a reputation and acknowledged it was once a suburb of scattered villas a lot favoured by means of the well-to-do Soviet legit. As I jumped down from the lorry I observed within the distance the lighting of homes, good spaced out, which would aid the idea, yet there have been no civilians round and the prisoners and infantrymen had where to themselves.

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