Don Pablo Edronkin

The True Survival Story Of First Lieutenant A.H. Braun (V).

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"After being arrested, beaten for a while and taken by train to a Siberian gulag, my Grandfather began listening to rumours about the planned demise and extermination of all polish military officers and leading civilians under soviet custody at the time. He began thinking about alternatives to such a written destiny.

According to his memories, he saw the problem as an alternative between two evils: one, stay and risk being shot or hanged, and the other, to make a run into the wilderness risking being shot, and with few chances of survival or evasion after the first days of freedom.

Soon, he found out that he had to escape because the rumours became reality, and Polish officials, like other people from the Soviet Union, began dying, and so, he began to concoct a plan during the winter.

The problem was divided in three parts: first, my father had to find a way to get out of the Gulag. Second, how to survive in the wilderness, and third, how to evade control posts, guards and the opinions of collaborative civilians until he reached some safe ground. After pondering whether to go to the Bering Strait in search of Alaska or to the Russian territories in Asia, he choose Asia, for the Bering Strait implied crossing freezing waters before reaching the United States. Besides, he thought, if the guards ever came after him, they would easily funnel him there at some point."

Karnak, Egypt. Watercolour by A.H. Braun.
Anthony Hillary Braun - A watercolour
of the ruins of Karnak. Author's collection.

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