University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

South Bend, [February], 1974

Sent Into Exile

What may have motivated the Soviet regime to expel Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn from the country and to send him into exile to Bonn in the free world? Was it in consideration of public opinion in the West holding it back from convicting the Nobel Prize laureate for literature and banishing him again to Siberia? Or, was it the political consideration that doing so could have strained negotiations at the European Security Conference?

The comparison with Thomas Mann is obvious. As Nobel Prize laureate for literature, Thomas Mann went into exile in 1933. He first went to Switzerland and in 1938 to the United states. In exile he became an important voice of resistance against fascism. Could not Solzhenitzyn in exile also become such a voice of resistance against communism?


[Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn was born in Russia 1918. As author and dissident he was placed several times under detention; he spent the years from 1945-53 in various labor camps in Siberia; only in 1956 was his deportment lifted. Banished from the Soviet Union in 1974, he lived in exile first in Zurich, 1974-76, and then from 1976-94 in Vermont in the United States. As author Solzhenitzyn revealed the horrors of the forced labor camps in the Soviet Union. Among his important works before he was exiled are A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962), Cancer Ward (1968), The First Circle (1968), and the three volume documentary on the labor camps, written between 1964-68, and published in the West as The Gulag Archipelago (1973-78). Solzhenitzyn was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 1970.]

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