Cover Osteuropa 11-12/2017

In Osteuropa 11-12/2017

Truth and justice
Autobiographical memories

Arsenij Roginskij

Deutsche Fassung


As the son of a father sentenced to camp imprisonment and banishment, Arseny Roginsky experienced early on how it felt to be a victim of despotism and state violence. The concealed death of his father sharpened his sensitivity towards lies and fear as a weapon of power. After a period of study under Yuri Lotman, he discovered his fascination for the search for truth in the past. He was one of the initiators of the independent Pamyat (remembrance) publication. He attracted the attention of the Soviet security authorities, and in 1981 he was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. The same historian who studied the fate of people incarcerated in the first camp, the Soloviki special camp, and who electrified the Gulag Archipelago, was now forced to enter into the world of the camps himself, with their own laws and their own language. The political turmoil that began with Perestroika made it possible to establish the Memorial society, whose objective it is to educate about the infringement of human rights in the past, and to fight against that same infringement in the present.

(Osteuropa 11-12/2017, pp. 13–36)