No, not under the vault of another sky, not under the shelter of other wings. I was with my people then, there where my people were doomed to be.
Instead of a preface:
During the years of the Yezhov terror, I spent seventeen months standing outside the prison in Leningrad, waiting for news. One day someone ‘picked me out’. Then a woman with blue lips from the cold, who was standing behind me, and of course had never heard of my name, came out of the numbness which affected us all. She whispered in my ear (for we all whispered there): “Can anyone ever describe this?”
I said, “I can”.
Then something resembling a smile slid across what had previously been just a face…