Julius Margolin

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Julius Margolin (Russian: Юлий (Юлиус) Борисович Марголин, October 14, 1900 – January 21, 1971) was a Litvak writer and political activist, and author of the book A Travel to the Land Ze-Ka (Путешествие в страну Зэ-Ка).


Margolin was born in Pinsk, West Belarus, then in the Russian Empire. He studied at the Humboldt University of Berlin and wrote thesis Humboldt University of Berlin. He moved to Poland and later to Palestine in 1936. Three years later he was visiting his relatives in Pinsk and was trapped there by the Soviet invasion of Poland. Together with numerous other "socially-dangerous elements", he was rounded up by the NKVD and sent to a labor camp on the northern bank of the Lake Onega. He survived, and was freed in 1945 as a former Polish citizen according to the agreement with Poland. In 1946, he was permitted to return to Poland, from where he moved to Palestine. He immediately started writing A Travel to the Land Ze-Ka, which was finished in 1947, when Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn just been sent to the gulag.[1]

It was impossible to publish such a book about the Soviet Union in the West at that times, immediately after World War II. The manuscript was also rejected in Israel as well. An abridged version was published in France in 1949[2] The book was printed in the United States in 1952 by Chekhov Publishing House (also abridged), and was reprinted in 1975.

In 1951, Margolin was a witness in the trial of David Rousset against a French communist newspaper. The paper was engaged in slander of Rousset for revealing information about the gulag to the French public.[3][4]

Publication history of the Travel to the Land Ze-Ka[edit]

  • 1949 - Margoline Jules. La condition inhumaine. Cinq ans dans les camps de concentration Sovietiques Traduit par N. Berberova & Mina Journot. Novembre 1949. Calmann-Levi, Editeurs, Paris.
  • 1952 - Марголин Ю. Б. "Путешествие в страну зэ-ка", 414 стр. Chekhov Publishing House, New York
    • Reprinted several times in various places
  • 1965 - Julius Margolin Uberleben ist alles. Aufzeichnungen aus sowietischen Lagern, Munchen,
  • Separate chapters from the book were also published in various magazines.
  • 2010 - Julius Margolin, Voyage au pays des Ze-Ka. The first complete edition (more than 1/3 of the text had never been published before in any language). Edited by Luba Jurgenson. Octobre 2010, Le Bruit du temps, Paris. More information here.


  1. ^ A traveller to the land of the zeks, by Zeldin, Y., Margolin, Julius., New Times, Moscow, 2001.11. 7, pp. 50-53
  2. ^ Gaby Levin A body broken, but free Haaretz 21.01.2011
  3. ^ La bataille de David Rousset, T. Bernard — G. Rosenthal. Pour la vérité sur les camps concentrationnaires. Paris, Le Pavois, 1951: 108-119 (French)
  4. ^ The Paris Report, Margolin's article about his involvement in Rousset's affair (Russian)
  • Margolin, Julius, Voyage au pays des Ze-Ka, Le Bruit du temps, Paris, Oct. 2010.

External links[edit]