Who did The Long Walk? Slavomir Rawicz or Witold Glinski?

December 12, 2010

That is how guys looked at the finish.
Tomasz, Bartosz and Filip. That is how guys looked at the finish.

In May I wrote the post Long Walk Plus Expedition: Walking up the Lena River from Yakutsk… to Calcutta, India about three Polish students, Tomasz Grzywaczewski, Bartosz Malinowski, Filip Drozdz, whom I met in Yakutsk and who said they were planning to repeat the famous escape from Yakutsk-based Gulag to British India depicted later in Slavomir Rawicz’s memory book “The Long Walk.”

There was a dialogue between us. I wrote,

These young Poles asked me, “Have you heard about Slavomir Rawicz’s The Long Walk?” I said, “Sure. It’s a real story about the Polish prisoner, who escaped from Gulag and walked southward to India.” And they were like, “Yeah, but you know what?! Its author says that it was him, who escaped to British India, but in reality the depicted character appeared to be another Pole, who lives now in the UK in poverty. A true hero is Witold Glinski. He didn’t earn anything from the book revenues, because he is very modest and unpretentious, and the publishing house was too authoritative to convince him to keep silence.”

Further, three guys, Tomasz Grzywaczewski, Bartosz Malinowski, and Filip Drozdz, started disclosing all the truth. Finally, they said they wanted to make the documentary and share the truth with the whole world by making the Long Walk Plus Expedition.

In October Polish guys finished the Long Walk Plus Expedition in Calcutta. Many Indian media newspapers came out with the story of their completed journey. Tomasz, Bartosz and Filip were totally exhausted, but excited.

A month ago I told about Poles’ achievements to Mikael Stranberg (www.mikaelstrandberg.com) and he made a story about them at ExplorersWeb.com.

That became the starting point of the hot discussion with questions, Who was a real hero? Who escaped from the Gulag near Yakutsk? Did Slavomir Rawicz depict his own long walk to freedom or did he use Witold Glinski’s real story to make his own book? Was it a big escape or a big lie?

Read people’s opinions and express your own in comments to Mikael’s post The Long Walk to Freedom.

Mikael asked about my opinion…

Frankly, I didn’t think over it before and have nothing to say definitely now. However, I live in Yakutsk… Yeah, I live in the area where that gulag was located in Stalin’s time… Why not make an investigation on the spot? Find that camp? Find people, who worked in that camp? Find some documents?.. I am not telling that it can be me to research… I am saying, It’s a good IDEA!

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