Antanas Petrikonis : The Kengir uprising put down

 

 

“That morning, 26 June, I think I was in the women’s area, Hut 5. Suddenly we heard a loud noise, the sound of tanks, gunfire, blanks obviously. When a tank fired, the cloth wadding went up in the air. They were loaded with wadding, what mattered was the noise. They drove past at top speed, without looking to see if there were any men, with their tracks covered in blood. There was a Latvian woman, they drove over her and afterwards there were only strips of clothing left, no woman. They put us in huts and surrounded them. I was in a hut with a Ukrainian man, soldiers all around. I looked at the soldiers, they were in front of us, the hut door was open. The man put his head out to look, the other asked him how many they were. He put his head out and bang, right in his head, he fell down. He only had one year’s camp to do. We took him and laid him on wooden slats. He just gurgled, that’s all, he died. I say, a good thing it wasn’t my head. That’s what a man’s fate can be sometimes.”

 

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Antanas Petrikonis in 1958, in the gulag
© Antanas Petrikonis