The Long Walk articles

Due to that I notice many readers read just one of the articles, but not the others and therefore they neither get the new updates or how the situation is right now, I have rearranged the articles according to relevance, with the one´s I rank the highest and most important first. for the time being.




  1. I have read Mr Leszek Glinecki’s ‘solid evidence’ with much interest and now realise that in my letter to him in June 2009 I misled him with a key error for which I wholeheartedly apologise. I wrote in the letter that Mr Glinsky was ‘preparing log-rafts for the break-up of the river in ice in early spring 1941.’ This should have said 1940. The error was made only in my letter, not in my story.

    I have not had the opportunity to talk further with Mr Glinsky because he is not well and lives far from me, but I have combed through the extensive notes I made during our long discussions and this is the picture that emerges:

    Mr Glinsky’s official birth date was 22 November 1926 but late in life he discovered he was really born in 1924. At the outbreak of the war he was therefore aged 15 and at the time of his escape aged 17.

    He reached Kriesty via Moscow in mid-winter (around Dec 1939 or Jan 1940) and located his mother with his younger brother and sister in a camp nearby. He worked as a timber hand and visited his mother most Sundays. Sometimes at night he crossed the frozen river to trade his mother’s trinkets at a nearby village. He might have attended a school but he did not mention it to me and I never thought to ask.

    After some months he and his mother communicated through an intermediary with his father who ran the power generators at a mining camp not far away. The whole region was a labour camp and lots of people were always on the move so it was not difficult to travel to meet his father. During their two weeks together his father urged him to ‘get away from here’ and ‘go south.’

    Merging with throngs of others like himself being transported to various labour camps he worked his way southward on successive trains until he found himself trapped on a train heading east. He destroyed his papers. The train stopped in the wilds near Irkutsk, and he was pushed into a crowd of men selected for a special labour camp. Thus begun his long march shackled to a chain with scores of other men. He reached the camp around November 1940.

    He made his escape ‘about six months later’ (ie, March/April 1941) and reached India about ten months after that (early 1942) and Scotland in mid-1943.

    These dates are very uncertain. In my story I wrote that he escaped in February but perhaps March is more likely. In this situation one guesstimate is as good as another but the train of events does seem entirely consistent and explains why he was unaware of the amnesty.

    In his ‘evidence’ Mr Glinecki raises further points I would like to comment on.

    There is no argument that both Mr Glinecki and Mr Glinsky were at Kriesty. One says the records tell the story. The other says that in the chaotic conditions record-keeping was hit-and-miss. In my opinion the latter story is easy to believe. One has to wonder how long it would have taken the authorities, such as they were, to realise that Mr Glinsky had absconded. It’s more than possible, I would suggest, that when the amnesty came his name was simply ticked off with the others.

    Mr Glinecki writes of his surprise that Mr Glinski portrayed himself as’ the leader of the group of prisoners’ which included two captains and a sergeant from the Polish infantry. He says: ‘The idea that men from the Polish officer corps would need to be — or allowed themselves to be — led by a young teenager fresh out of school struck me as altogether beyond belief.”

    I quizzed Mr Glinski about this most particularly. He said he kept his escape plan utterly private and he did not work with two others as claimed by Linda Willis in her excellent book ‘Looking for Mr Smith.’ On the night of his escape he was totally surprised to see men following him. He thinks that because he’d been befriended by the commandant’s wife he was being closely watched by others. And it’s likely a sheer coincidence that others saw the blizzard as the best moment to run for it and the dip in the fence as the best spot to cross.

    Mr Glinski was the son of a high-ranking Polish cavalry officer and himself a cadet at a military school. He would have been completely familiar with ‘officer class’ individuals and not daunted by them. He did not impose any leadership. In effect he told them: ‘I am going that way and you can do what you like.’ When he looked back he saw them following him. This happened repeatedly. The two officers, he said, were in a bad mental state and were ‘nurse-maided’ by the sergeant. The officers died on the way and the sergeant was killed in a cliff fall. The mysterious Mr Smith said little but kept himself close to Mr Glinski and supported his actions. There were hardly any discussions about what they should do and they did not exchange personal details.

    About the Lubianka episode: Mr Glinski did not mention it the first time we talked through his story but it did emerge the second time. I have to wonder whether he was in fact using ‘Lubianka’ as a euphemism for the hated officials who had taken over his life. To any young man in that situation, a tribunal of any sort behind barbed wire would have seemed like a Lubianka. This is just a possibility worth mentioning but the Lubianka story could equally well be true.

    My notes have nothing more to add but in my opinion the story that emerges is rational and convincing.

    John Dyson

  2. Mikael,

    I think you need to embark the Long Walk expedition youself and check, if everything depicted in the book was true.

    If any help needed in Yakutsk (Siberia/Russia), I will help.


  3. Mysterious group of Polish escapees in India.

    In March 1942, Chief Secretary to the Government of Bombay, Political and Services Departments, H.K. Kirpalani reported to the Consul General of Poland in Bombay about the arrival of a group of four Polish men who claimed to have escaped from the Soviet Gulag. They had crossed thousands of miles and were taken care of by the Government of India External Affairs Department. Four men recuperated for weeks in the local hospitals as per receipts from the Salvation Army and other facilities. Local government submitted expenses for their stay to the Polish diplomatic outpost. These records can be found among the accounting records of the Polish Bombay Consulate General, to the best of our knowledge, the only documentation from that Consulate which survived World War 2 (Poland. Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych, Hoover Institution, Stanford University).
    We assume that the main body of the Consulate’s documentation was destroyed by the Polish diplomats after the British government withdrew recognition of the Polish Government-in-Exile in London in 1945.
    We don’t know much about the fate of these men after April 1942, whether they returned to Europe or joined the Polish Army in the Middle East which left the Soviet territory after the summer of the same year.
    Among the accounting records there are several “Certificates of Posting” from March 1942 about the heavy exchange of mail between the Polish diplomatic outposts in India and the Deputy Commissioner of Police Security Control in Calcutta and the Undersecretary to the Government of India Home Department in New Delhi. The content of this correspondence must have been destroyed.

    Escapes of the Polish officers from Soviet Gulag

    State Archives of the Russian Republic, (call number: GARF, f. 9401. op. 2, d. 173, l. 125-126), contain a report from November 1, 1945 by the commander of the 2-nd division of GUPVI NKVD SSSR , Major Bronnikov, who states that out of close to 100,000 Polish Army soldiers handled by the Soviet authorities between 1939 and 1941, approximately 1,082 Polish officers escaped from the camps.

    Camp commanders frequently falsified reports on the circumstances of disappearance of the prisoners and even if the number wasn’t this high, we can assume that several hundred must have attempted the escape. A small percentage of them survived the Siberian ordeal. There are numerous reports in the General Anders Papers stored at Stanford University confirming these escapes. Anders collected testimonies from Poles who successfully reached the gathering points for the deportees on Soviet territory before he took that remarkable Army to the Middle East in 1942.

    What makes Bronnikov’s report look reliable is that it officially admits to killing, by NKVD, 15,131 Polish officers. This fact remained a Soviet/Russian state secret until the mid 1990’s and the document couldn’t be made public until the time of official inquiries about the Katyn Massacre.

    Could Mr. Leszek Gliniecki explain where he obtained the documents he is quoting on this web site? Some of his conclusions are incorrect.

    Zbigniew L. Stanczyk, Palo Alto, California

  4. Comments on all articles regularly come in, especially on number 2,5,6 and 7 and right now I don´t have a system to show them as they come in except the 5 latest if you go to the bottom of the first page and see recent comments. Otherwise, one has to see each article. But if you check every day, this won´t be a problem 😉

  5. Hello, you may take an interest in the project I am involved with- The project seeks to engage young people with past literary figures that hold high significance in society. It does this through the creation of intriguing interactive graphic novels in the form of comics, in which each chapter relates to a figure. Slavomir Rawicz is one of the figures focused on in this project that could link in and be presented with your post about the iconic ‘Long Walk to Freedom. A review of this project and any feedback would be useful. Thankyou

  6. Hello Mikael,

    I am a young adventure seeker who loves travel and new culture. I am wanting to write and create a book that would be a great coffee table book. My idea is to travel to far and near villages and cities around the world and ask some people one simple question. I would illustrate there image and also take a photo of them as well if allowed. But I have a vision of my hand drawn sketch that goes along with their answer. It would be simple but powerful all at the same time and is great for adults or kids to expand their mind about the cultures around the worl. I am writing you just to see what you think of the idea and any advice you could affor or know of someone or a company who would be willing to sponsor the voyage. P.s. Your story and life is very inspiring.

  7. In 1964 I was at school in Ilkeston, Derbyshire (Hallcroft), and was president of our sixth form society. Slavomir Rawicz lived in Sandiacre, which is near to Ilkeston. I had read ‘The Long Walk’ and wrote to Slavomir asking if he would address our society. He agreed, and had us spellbound with this amazing and courageous story. I recall that his emotion during his talk was so intense that he broke down and wept. I never forgot the experience and find it so difficult to believe that it could possibly not have been true. He was a lovely, gentle man who was dedicated to peace throughout the World. Now, many years later I’ve forgotten much of my school days, but still vividly remember the effect of Slavomir Rawicz’s talk that day.

  8. “The Long Walk Mystery is Still Alive!” Not at all! There no mistery. It’s just another Polish Fake story. That’s all.

    Just a few days ago I just saw this funny movie “The Way Back”. Sorry guys, but I just couldn’t stop laughing while watching it. For me as for most of Lithuanians this film is kind of new version of Ministry of Silly Walks by Mothy Pyton. 🙂

    I know the subject (Soviet occupation, Communist terror system, Gulag, Dalstroy, Soviet labor camps and Exile to Siberia) pretty well and was 100% sure from the start, that there is no mystery at all from the very beginning, when I’ve only read about it some years ago. This is quite typical Polish style “history”. In other words – fake story. This “Long Walk” was not true, because was not possible even theoretically. Never happen.

    But I know the real stories about true attempts to escape GULAG and DALSTROY (what is not the same!) Communist labor camps from the first hand accounts of Lithuanian survivors of Red Terror. Nearly all of them were not successful, unfortunately. Here in Lithuania we better know the successful Lithuanian escapes from Siberian exile settlements, back to occupied Lithuania, after the WW2 ended in other parts of the world. Lots of such escapes were documented in memoirs and some even on films or videos.

    I’ve heard also about some attempts to escape from Communist labor camp in Chukotka, which possibly was or could be successful. But that group of Dalstroy prisoners was led by some middle aged Latvian officer, and they went East, not South. They were aiming Alaska, USA. They have planned to reach Alaska with the help of local people (it was told that local hunters used to go there illegally in some very short season when it was possible to go on ice for pretty long way). Took two criminals (of “sukas” category; you have to know what was “sukas” and what was “urkas”) cheating them as supposed to be for “company”, but for the food in reality. One of them escaped from that group and somehow managed to get back to the camp and later told other prisoners, that his friend was killed and eaten by other escapees. The man who told me about this attempt was held also in that camp, in Chukotka, but he didn’t know if the attempt was successful or not. No bodies were exposed after this stunt in front of the gates to that camp.

    Usually after such attempts NKVD (guards of the camps) used to get shot and mutilated (by NKVD dogs or with bayonets) dead bodies of escapees back to the same camp (no matter how long way they have to bring them back), and putting them on the ground near the gates of the same camp for some time week or even more. To show other prisoners “the lesson” that such escape is not possible. This was the common rule of all Communist camps in USSR. But there were actually exceptions even in this rule.

    In Kaunas, Lithuania is living the former Soviet political prisoner (I also used to talk with him) who was captured even twice, after two escapes from the Soviet labor camps. He was nearly killed after those attempts, lost his hand, but survived.

    After Lithuania declared its’ independence in 11th of March 1990 Mr. Algirdas Petrusevičius worked hardly with his only hand to invent original automatic-rifles “Vytis” for the Lithuanian army to defend the new Soviet aggression (which followed soon, in the beginning of 1991). He can tell not fake, but the real stories, the truth stories how it is possible to escape the Communist labor camps. You also can ask another Lithuanian survivor Jonas Vytautas Koklevičius what is like to survive in the wild Siberia and the attack of big brown Siberian grizzly bear, having knife only. He was heavily injured but killed the beast. Both men are still alive and living in Kaunas, Lithuania.

    You also can check the story of another real Lithuanian hero Vladas Šakalys, how he swim and walk to freedom, actually to Your country Sweden, crossing Soviet occupied Karelia first, crossing Soviet-Finish border by water and crossed walking across all Soviet friendly Finland (at night only) during the Moscow Olympics in 1980. But he was killed years later by KGB already in free Lithuania, in Vilnius, in 1995 (it was also some sort of “Novichok”, but nobody could trace it here in that time), because too many former Soviet Army and KGB generals lost their ranks, after Vladas Šakalys crossed the Iron Curtain.

    Still alive is also the real author of the real escape from Tal’yany (Тальяны), Usolsky District, Irkutsk Oblast in Siberia to Mongolia (but not from Gulag, but Lithuanian exile settlement in Tal’yany) Ms. Sigutė Smetonaitė-Petrauskienė. She and two other Lithuanian lads (Juozas Kavaliauskas and Kastytis Vitkus) were 17 years old, when they did this real long walk attempt, crossing Sayan Mountains, but finally were captured by the Soviet border guards (soldiers) after 2 month journey and hunger surviving in Siberian taiga. They were planning to cross Mongolia, China, to reach Taiwan, but were captured soon after crossing USSR-Mongolian border. Local hunter informed the border guards. One of them even get shot after that.

    For all locals and Soviet military NKVD officers, interrogators that they have met afterwards was really hard to believe and even to understand how they have survived in the Sayan Mountains, wild taiga for so long in such a bad weather conditions. The short memoirs of Sigutė Smetonaitė and Juozas Kavaliauskas has been issued in the book with some pictures just a year ago in Lithuania (“Pabėgimas iš Taljanų” (“The Escape from Tal’yany”), Sigutė Smetonaitė / Lietuvos gyventojų genocido ir rezistencijos tyrimo centras 2019 / ISBN: 9786098037883.).

    Sigutė Smetonaitė is the granddaughter of Mykolas Smetona, who was the older brother of Lithuanian President Antanas Smetona, killed by the NKVD agents in his own house, in USA, in 1944. Here is the video of presentation of this book (the old lady is Sigutė Smetonaitė):

    You simply are stuck on the fake people with the traditional fake stories, folks. Never ever trust such Polish “stories” and Polish “histories”, which are not based on hard evidence and solid proof (documents and witnesses). Because it is just the waste of time. We Lithuanians are dealing with them and know them pretty well for centuries.

    We also know Soviets and Russians very good. Have lost more than 30% of Lithuanian population during WW2, which ended for us only in 1993, when the last Soviet/Russian soldier left Lithuania, on 31th of August. The last Lithuanian Partisan was shot dead in 1969 in the woods of Lithuania. I wonder how many of You in Sweden, UK or elsewhere in the West have heard about Soviet-Lithuanian war going on in occupied Lithuania in 1944-1953(1969)? So we do know what is Soviet/Russian terror and how to resist it and how to survive.

    Please stop making funny movies based on the fake Polish stories about “surviving” or “escaping” the Soviet terror, because you can’t beat the original Monthy Pyton shows.

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