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Nadezhda Mandel'shtam 1899 - 1980

wife of poet Osip Mandel'shtam who devoted herself to preserving his works

Nadezhda Mandel'shtam

Nadezhda Mandel'shtam

In 1922 Nadezhda became the wife of the great poet Osip Mandel'shtam. From then on she shared his precarious and constantly threatened existence, staying close to him in internal exile, from his arrest right through to his death in the GULag (1938). She survived him by over forty years, devoting herself to preserving his works and his memory and struggling to see him rehabilitated. This is also why she wrote her Memories (published in Russian between 1970 and 1987 in three volumes), which are of considerable historical-literary interest.

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The difficult defense of human dignity

In communist totalitarianism

The Gulag as the organized system of soviet labor camps was a powerful instrument for the extermination of entire groups of citizens by the communist totalitarian regime, in the USSR since half of the Twenties and then by emulation of the other countries of the communist bloc, both in Europe and in the Far East.
Through terror, the regime exerted an iron grip over the population who completely submitted to the regime. 

For those who opposed the regime the question was not about risking their lives to rescue other human beings, but to save their true identity at the cost of their life. Through this, indirectly, other lives were saved and this courageous kind of moral resistance contributed to the collapse of the Soviet empire, which collapsed at the end of 1989.