CREATIVE SUFFERING

Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:

Born into an aristocratic family in Imperial Russia, Iulia de Beausobre (1893-1977) was arrested during Stalin’s reign of terror and imprisoned for eight months in Moscow’s notoriously brutal Lubyanka Prison.

Under appalling conditions, she did calisthenics each morning, splashed herself with cold water, and urged her fellow inmates to pray. She refused to commit the crime of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, as she thought of it, and succumb to despair. She never broke under questioning. She was then sentenced to five years of hard labor and transferred to a lumber camp, where she sustained frostbite on both hands and feet and was invalided out after a year.

Upon release, she learned that her beloved husband, Nikolay, had been shot. She wrote a memoir of her time in the camps: “The Woman Who Could Not Die” (1938).

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