Executed 72 years ago today in the Ukrainian SSR: Senitsa Vershovsky. I have often said I study the Holocaust because it shows the extremes of human behavior on both sides. There are monsters, yes, but there are also people full of compassion and courage. I want everyone to know what sort of man Vershovsky was, and why it still matters.
Another ET blog entry by me from 1943: a very talented young writer named Yitshkok Rudashevski. I have read his diary in its entirety and was stunned by the beauty of is tragedy.
From Executed Today, in 1941: 534 Jews, most of the intelligentsia of the Jewish community in Kovno/Kaunas, Lithuania. The story of the group’s capture and execution was recorded by William Mishell (then called Vulik Mishelski), who was a 22-year-old engineer at the time and almost became Victim 535.
Also, this morning I wrote and posted a 2,500-word account of something that happened when I was thirteen years old. I call it Standing Up By Sitting Down. It’s a little bit fictionalized, not much. I don’t think it’s my best writing. I do better writing 100% fiction.
On April 7, 1933, the grandparents, uncle and one cousin of a Russian boy named Pavel Morozov were shot for his murder. And that’s just about the only thing we know for sure about this case, which I think is a fascinating one, particularly for those interested in Stalin’s Russia. Not so much the murder itself, but what resulted from it.
I worked really hard on this Executed Today entry. I actually started writing it eighteen months ago, back in October/November 2011. You’ll recall that in this entry I talked about a “writing project” I’d been working on:
I discovered I’d apparently tried to work on it after I took the pills: there were pages and pages of complete gibberish. I couldn’t make any sense of it and wound up having to rewrite it all.
Well, this entry was the writing project I’d been working on when I had that crisis that left me with a scar on my hand and a story. I actually completely rewrote the entry twice. The first time was because I’d messed it all up as explained above. The second time was after I read Catriona Kelly’s book (I wrote my first draft of the Morozov entry having read only Druzhnikov’s book) and realized I had to do some serious re-thinking. It’s an unbelievably complicated story and Kelly had such different conclusions than Druzhnikov.
Anyway, I think the entry turned out very well. In addition to all the work I put into it, the Headsman (the guy who runs the Executed Today blog) made some minor edits of his own, mostly making the writing clearer and cleaner. I’m proud of the results here; I think I told Pavlik’s story as thoroughly and succinctly as I could.
ET entry by me: Andrei Stepanovich Arzhilovsky, 1937, a victim of Stalin’s Great Terror.