The 20th century had a writer of the statute of Goethe or Hugo. Alexandre Solzhenitsyn changed the course of history having become the voice of millions of victims of the Soviet concentration system.
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, published in 1962, came as a bombshell on the world scale. Having gained recognition, the former prisoner secretly writes "The Gulag Archipelago". After its publication in Paris in 1974, Solzhenitsyn was deprived of his Soviet citizenship and expelled from the country. In his exile in Switzerland and then in the USA, he worked on the most voluminous literary work of the last century, "The Red Wheel", an enormous research on the Russian revolution of 1917.
The courage to write took over the communist regime. Over 2000 written pages, personal documents and belongins, including Solzhenitsyn's clothes of a zek were presented for the very first time at the Martin Bodmer Foundation from the 14th of May to the 16th of October 2011 thanks to the financial support of the Neva Foundation.
Mrs Elena Timchenko, President of the Neva Foundation, said in an interview to Nasha Gazeta.ch: "I belong to the generation which observed Solzhenitsyn's struggle against the communist system. We all felt that something was wrong in our country but could not understand what exactly. And Solzhenitsyn was able both to understand and to explain."
Professor Georges Nivat, curator of the exhibition and author of its catalogue, wanted, for his part, "to show to the Swiss public that both the literary work and the political battle of Solzhenitsyn were driven by the same energy".
The Neva Foundation expresses its gratitude to Mrs Natalya Solzhenitsyn for her active personal involvement in the realisation of this project.
Picture: © famille Soljenitsyne