À labri des vieilles pierres - Histoire érotique (French Edition)
And it also helped his fellow prisoners to confide in him, which would later facilitate his work of passing on the story. How beautiful was that utopia. Here is an example:. When Rossi was a Comintern agent, he had to carry secret documents on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean with a fake Swedish passport. On boarding the ship, he learned that there was another Swede on board. He was seized with panic at the idea that he would be unmasked by a real Swede.
And so he pretended to be sick and missed out on the whole of this beautiful voyage.
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This story he told Rudy, a prisoner who, between two interrogations, has just arrived in his miserable cell. He did so in order to distract his prison mate from the torture he had just undergone. Rudy, a Pole like Rossi, listened to the story and smiled:. Another advantage for this particular zek was that he had been a scholar of fine arts and languages.
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For this gifted linguist who spoke more than ten languages, studying the language spoken in the Gulag became a springboard to constructing a work that is not just a work of memory, but also a work of history. History is distinguished from memory by its objective, or at least its intersubjective nature. And this is the case here. It is in the name of thousands of witnesses that Rossi speaks.
And it is no longer a matter of one individual point of view on the Gulag. It is an academic type of research based on primary sources as well as references to archives, documents, and statistics. This is what allows for as accurate a reconstruction as possible of the reality of the Gulag. Jacques Rossi did not content himself with passing on the memory of a first-hand witness. He wanted to leave behind a legitimate, historical record by constructing his monumental Gulag Handbook.
After all, there have been so many testimonies. His originality is that he became the historian of his own history by giving it a universal dimension. That is why knowledge of the Gulag is fundamental to the study of the communist totalitarian regime. Unfortunately, no sovietologist ever did the apprenticeship there. As we have seen, for years and years, Rossi listened to fellow prisoners who confided in him. They were very diverse. All these Soviets spoke to him, in their individual jargon, the Gulag slang, a specific language born of a specific culture.
Rossi was multilingual and passionate about languages. He had a remarkable memory, which he used during his time as an undercover communist. That same memory would retain hundreds and thousands of Gulag expressions that were not part of the Russian language proper. It was a composite language, consisting of the accumulation and sedimentation of several linguistic strata, the slang of the ordinary prisoners, the legal language of the penitentiary administration, the specific vocabulary of the political prisoners, and words from pre-revolutionary Russian penal colonies.
He used it to describe and indeed explain the concentration camp universe from which it sprang. There are words and there are testimonies. The first step was, therefore, to assemble the facts.
But, when Rossi undertook this Dantean task, he was no quiet researcher in the Library of Congress. He was a zek who had been held in the Gulag, for years on end, who had not been allowed to take any notes, and who was subjected to regular searches, even in the most intimate places. Nevertheless, he managed to write and keep records. He also made sketches of what he saw, which were confiscated How did he manage this? He refused to reveal it to me, to avoid betraying a secret that could be of use against other detainees.
The Project Gutenberg eBook of Le Roman De La Rose, tome 1 by Guillaume de Lorris et Jean de Meung.
The second step was to take place in communist Poland, after Rossi had left the Gulag, and had started, thanks to his still fresh memories and his secret records full of recollections, to set up a gigantic file. But here, too, he was not living in a country with freedom of expression. And so, to transfer his work to the west, he had to use the diplomatic bag of the French embassy, where he had some contacts. The third step is of particular interest to you and to me.
Upon leaving Poland, Rossi set off for the United States at the invitation of a former Polish student and, in Washington, met Father Bradley, Dean of the College, who invited him to take advantage of the freedom of expression and make use of the library at Georgetown. So it is here that he completed his work on primary sources, which he gathered through patient, detailed, encyclopedic research, and wrote a book on all aspects of the soviet concentration camp system.
The result is, first of all, a fascinating linguistic investigation of an unknown idiom, the language of the Gulag: several thousand entries in the original Russian edition, published in London in In this manner, the subjective witness gave way to the intersubjective historian and drew closer to the challenging goal of objectivity.
Usually, witnesses do not much like historians who have not, themselves, suffered the situations they describe and analyze. Historians, for their part, mistrust witnesses, suspicious of their good faith, accuracy and veracity. Rossi managed to reconcile the two. He spent twenty-four years of his life listening, recording, and conceiving his project.
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Then he applied himself to editing the records, drawing up the files, checking and confirming his work by searching through archives, documents, studies, and works by other people. If Memory and History are to complement and benefit each other, the past must not be cultivated for itself but must, above all, be used to serve. This is how Jacques Rossi saw it. He wanted to place his experience at the service of education with a view to warning the world. His individual testimony as a zek crushed by an oppressive system was to be placed at the service of a universal cause.
In this mass slaughterhouse, what became of the individual? What happened to the human being? What about forgiveness and the spirit of vengeance? How can a human being protect his soul in this gigantic crushing machine of degradation and destruction? How can he or she survive twenty-four years of captivity? This is where individual testimony is of greatest value. And it is a mark of the greatness of the existential choice of Jacques Rossi, the former zek , that in the final analysis he concluded that he had no personal resentment against these men, even the criminals who abused him in the Norilsk camp, even the policemen who tortured him in Butyrka prison, even the false companions who betrayed him and who helped to have him sentenced for a second time.
The more the desire for revenge, which only impedes the search for truth, is reduced to a pitiful settling of personal scores, the more noble is the task of struggling to avoid repeating the nightmare.
Un animal à vif (Grands Formats) (French Edition)
Rossi wanted this awful experience endured by millions of men and women to serve as a lesson. Will it prevent new blindness? The question remains open. Survival is at the heart of the problems surrounding the concentration camp system. Why am I not dead? That is the ultimate question Translated from French. When I asked this question over and over again, Jacques replied wearily as if he were always being asked to explain the unexplainable.
And I had read.