A Woman in the Stalin’s Lager as Seen in the Writings of Polish Women authors Cover Image

Kobieta w łagrze stalinowskim w tekstach polskich pisarek
A Woman in the Stalin’s Lager as Seen in the Writings of Polish Women authors

Author(s): Tadeusz Sucharski
Subject(s): Gender Studies, Polish Literature, WW II and following years (1940 - 1949), Post-War period (1950 - 1989), Theory of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego
Keywords: lagers; Gulag; totalitarian experiences; literature of the personal document;

Summary/Abstract: The article is an attempt at a reflection on the record of the experiences of women in the Stalin’s lagers. From the analytical perspective were reviewed the works of the Polish authors, inmates in the lagers: Beata Obertyńska, Barbara Skarga, Grażyna Lipińska, Herminia Naglerowa, Urszula Muskus. Their books constitute the most complete testimony of the lager experiences of women in the period of 1940–1955. These records were juxtaposed with the vision of a woman presented in Herling-Grudziński’s A World Apart, where in fact her role was confined to that of a sexual slave. The analysed works reveal much richer image of the everyday lager life of a woman. They do not question or reduce the role of sexual relations, but show the “fullness” of the lager existence of the inmates: their killing physical labour, the struggle for survival and preserving dignity, the desire for love and its horrible consequences. The analysis of the writings, however, forced the author to abandon the attempt to outline a general formula of the lager fate of a woman. Such attempt turned out to be impossible due to the fundamental differences in the status of particular lagers determined by the geographical span of the “Gulag Archipelago”, and the differences in their organization resulting from the political changes in the USSR during 1940–1955.

  • Issue Year: 15/2018
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 116-133
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: Polish