This man’s name was Gherman. He used to visit my grandfather a few times a year, and I always looked forward to his visits. He had encyclopedic knowledge of pretty much everything; he spoke German, French, English and Yiddish; best of all, he was as obsessed with photography as I was. Years later, after I immigrated to the United States, I found out that Gherman spent 15 years in GULAG. He met my grandfather in 1947 at Mine 7 in Vorkuta where my grandfather saved his life when Gherman’s right arm was torn off by heavy machinery.
When I began to research my grandfather’s life, I found out that Gherman immigrated to Israel shortly after I moved to the United States. I called him and we talked for almost 4 hours. He told me about GULAG camps and about my grandfather. He sent me a 35-page handwritten letter with first hands accounts of his life in Soviet labor camps.
Yesterday I found out from my grandmother that Gherman passed away a few weeks ago. He was the last of my grandfather’s friends who were in prison camps with him. When I heard the news, I cried. Rest in peace…
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