Wanderings Through an Inferno: An Analysis of the Great Terror as Seen Through the Eyes of Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg

Powerful Essays
Sidimohammed Mbarki
Professor Whittaker
History 3352
Fall ‘05

Wanderings Through an Inferno: An Analysis of the Great Terror as Seen Through the Eyes of Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg The following paper will be an analysis of "The Great Terror," that is, the arrest and often execution of millions of Russian and Russian minorities from 1936 to 1938, carried out by the Soviet secret police, known as, and hereafter referred to as the NKVD. The analysis will use Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg's, a Russian professor and writer who was arrested early into the purges and experienced, as well as survived, it in its entirety, memoir a Journey Into the Whirlwind as a primary source. More specifically, it will focus on Ginzburg's arrest and subsequent imprisonment from 1936 to 1938, covered in part one of her memoir. The paper will be divided into three parts: the first will attempt to summarize part one of Journey Into the Whirlwind; the second will cover the experience of those targeted by the purges during their early Imprisonment and interrogation; the third will focus on Eugenia Ginzburg's attitude toward the Communist party and it's evolution throughout her experience.
I.
Before February 1937 Eugenia Ginzburg was a typical communist party member. Her fervent devotion to the communist party, the product of "a demagogic education and the mystic spell of Party slogans" (24), was as primal to her being and identity as her name. Ginzburg's position as a History Professor and writer on the local paper the "Red Tartary," made her part of the Russian Intelligentsia, (8) one of the groups targeted by Stalin's purges. In 1937 Ginzburg was arrested under the charge of associating with "persons already condemned" (30), the condemned was a colleague of hers on the Red Tartary, Elvov, who was charged with being a Trotskyist for writing an article on the theory of "Permanent Revolution" not in accordance with the party line of his time (5). Ginzburg was later formally

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