First Two Nights in Moscow Jails

On Thursday 22nd July 1920, fourteen British soldiers were taken under guard to the V-Tcheka headquarters at 2 Lubjanka in Moscow.  The Russian dissident George Popov distinguished this from its neighbour the M-Tcheka when he wrote: “If there was any difference between them, Lubjanka 14 had the reputation of being a medieval torture chamber and scene of mass murders in an even higher degree than Lubjanka 2”.

The search of the soldiers’ belongings took five hours and many precious items were confiscated.  Captain Brian Horrocks MC, who later earned fame in World War II, managed to read a piece of paper written by the vindictive  Omsk commissar that stated the British had enormous sums of money hidden in their belongings.  As a result, they were herded into a single cell and spent a torrid night as the officers were interrogated individually by the secret police.

The next morning, they put on their smartest uniforms as they were marched across Moscow to the notorious Ivanovsky monastery, which the Bolsheviks had converted into a political jail. There were 457 prisoners in Ivanovsky, of whom 45 were women.  There was no hope here and some of the inmates who had been imprisoned without trial since 1918 had gone quite mad.

 See Chapter 15 of Churchill’s Abandoned Prisoners.  

img_1561Ivanovsky Prison

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