European Memories

of the Gulag

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Difficulties on returning home

“I suffered a lot before I managed to fit in.
I had no propiska, the residence permit you had to have then, and without that you couldn’t live. For a whole year I lived in lavatories. They weren’t working as lavatories, of course. But I had my folding bed and table. And I even had to pay rent for the lavatories. I was sent from one job to another, I would work for two months, or one month, and when the KGB found out, they ordered that I should be sacked. The most important thing was that I should not work with young people; they said ‘sack that misfit!’”