Solidarité Ukraine
INED Éditions. Sound Archives, European Memories of the Gulag

A difficult return

It was very hard finding work. I went to countless firms and factories. People I knew from school and friends tried to take me on. Everywhere it was stopped as soon as it reached the personnel department. Everywhere they said: we don’t need anyone. For example, at the computer factory, where I had a relative working, the people in the personnel department asked me, “You’ve been re-educated, have you?” I said that it was none of their business, other people were in charge of my re-education, I was just looking for a job. I went to a shop foreman in the computer factory. In those days, they needed people for cultural activities, that was in fashion, they needed musicians, singers, etc. I went to the personnel department… and they… A new factory was being set up, a pharmaceuticals factory. At the time, they were short of workers. There, they said to me, “We’ve a lot of young people here, we don’t need people like you, dangerous people. I went to the opera and ballet theatre. There they said, “Come back in three days, we’ll ask the opinion of the KGB”. They spoke frankly to me, they were probably still inexperienced. I went back three days later and they said, “No, negative.” I went to the Music Academy, the director Karnavičius said, “Gladly, if you bring me a permit from the KGB”. So that was negative too. Finally, I was hired at the art school workshop, but only at the second attempt. The head of the personnel department, a young woman, really wanted to help me. She said, “Look, the director has just got back from France, I’ll ask him”. Then she came and said, “No, he doesn’t agree.” She told me to look elsewhere and if that didn’t work to come back and see her, perhaps they would find something. I went away and looked in a few places. And when I came back, a painter said he would try to speak to the director again. This time it worked and I got a job at the art school workshop.