Jul 7, 2009

Remembering the Unknown Solzhenitsyn

"Some may say that the Gulag is a forgotten part of history and that we do not need to be reminded. But I have witnessed monstrous crimes." -- Nikolai Getman

Many have never heard of Russian artist Nikolai Getman, but next month marks the fifth anniversary of his death. Getman survived seven years of hard-labor in the Kolyma gold fields, taught himself to paint, and spent the remainder of his life secretly documenting his experience on canvas.

Two decades after the end of communism, the Kremlin is moving to slowly erase the memory of Stalin's crimes under the seal of "state secrets" (The Amazing, Vanashing Gulag). However, Getman's visceral archive survives. It is the only surviving first-hand visual evidence of the Gulag and its forgotten children.

See the full archive and Robert Conquest's fond farewell to the artist and his legacy.

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