Sławomir Rawicz

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Sławomir Rawicz (born September 1, 1915 in Pińsk , † April 5, 2004 in Nottingham ) was a Polish-British soldier and prisoner . He is the author of the book "The Long Way", which describes his imprisonment and his escape from Soviet captivity as far as India, but which is doubted by the Soviet sources.


As a Polish lieutenant, Sławomir Rawicz was sentenced to 25 years in a prison camp in the Soviet Union in 1939 . According to his own report, he fled the Gulag camp with six fellow prisoners in the spring of 1941 . Allegedly they overcame the unbelievable distance of 5000 kilometers through the Gobi desert , Tibet and the Himalayas and finally reached India in the early summer of 1942 . His fellow refugees were not identified; besides, his testimony is the only evidence of what happened. The supposed experiences on the run were described by the English author Ronald Downing based on conversations with Rawicz in 1956 in the book The Long Road . After the war, Rawicz settled in Nottingham, where he lived until his death in 2004.

In an article by Hugh Levinson published by the BBC in 2006, Rawicz's story is juxtaposed with Soviet documents which show that he was transported to a refugee camp in Iran in 1942 as part of a general pardon. This contradicts all descriptions of the escape.

Rupert Mayne, a former intelligence officer stationed in India during wartime, claimed that in 1942 he interviewed three men who claimed to have fled Siberia. However, due to the length of time, he could not remember names.

Based on the book, the film The Way Back was staged in 2010 .

See also


  • The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom , 1956; German: The long way. Meine Flucht aus dem Gulag , Ullstein, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3548332447 (already in other translation and without subtitles by Scheffler, Frankfurt am Main 1956 and other editions)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Walking the talk? October 30, 2006 ( bbc.co.uk [accessed February 17, 2019]).