La marche du monde - RFI : 19/03/2011 Teodor Shanin - Testimony of a survivor


Major witness: Teodor Shanin, former Gulag deportee, currently President of the Moscow University for the Social and Economic Sciences.
One day in June 1941, as the Germans approached Vilnius, once again capital of Soviet Lithuania, an NKVD officer and soldiers arrived at the home of Teodor Shanin’s family. They had come to arrest them all because of their social origins. Teodor was 11 and his little sister 4. The officer did something amazing: he said that because of the harshness of the area they were being deported to, he would turn a blind eye if they left the little girl with someone. Which they did, entrusting her to her grandfather.
Teodor’s father was sentenced to forced labour and sent to a camp in Siberia. Teodor and his mother began a long journey of deportation to various villages from the Altai Mountains to Samarkand. Once Teodor’s father was released from the camp, he joined them.
When the war was over, Teodor left the country and passed through Vilnius to find his sister. He did not find her, because she suffered the fate of all the Jews in Vilnius. She was shot soon after the Germans arrived in the city.
Teodor Shanin’s testimony is one of the life stories that can be found on the website of the virtual museum “Sound archives – European memories of the Gulag”, initiated by RFI and the CNRS, Its aim is to make available to internet users more than 150 testimonies, videos, propaganda films and personal photographs of survivors. “This interview was a notable one,” remembers the researcher Juliette Denis. “In a sober manner and with precise details about the events in his family’s history, Teodor Shanin was telling his life story for the first time, in full confidence. We in the team with Alain Blum were even more emotional than Teodor Shanin.”
Valérie Nivelon, with Marta Craveri, coordinator of the project “Sound archives of the Gulag”, researcher at CERCEC; Alain Blum, director of the project “Sound archives of the Gulag”, director of CERCEC; Juliette Denis, researcher at CERCEC, member of the team of 13 European researchers on the project “Sound archives of the Gulag”.

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Teodor Shanin