The Samovar

Jail mail

Gary - 4/28/2007 at 16:49

Anybody collect jail mail? From son to father?


jail-front.jpg - 125kB

Gary - 4/28/2007 at 16:50


jail-back.jpg - 161kB

jlechtanski - 4/28/2007 at 18:14

Nice. An item of "mail censorship" if not "postal censorship"

What Moscow prison is this? One of the infamous ones like Butyrka, Lubyanka or Lefortovo?

jlechtanski - 4/28/2007 at 18:26

Never mind.

A little research turns up the "Moscow Central Prison."

oldteddy - 4/29/2007 at 07:27

It's amazing what this guy is asking to send him: not money, not food, not clothing - but a book on TRIGONOMETRY!

Gary - 4/29/2007 at 13:49

Hmmm I wonder if he was simply trying to figure out an angle to get out of there?:o

oldteddy - 4/29/2007 at 14:32

Another interesting detail: it's from a son to his father and the father is a big shot - HIS EXCELLENCY! I wonder if the father - or the son - is some historical celebrity. however minor. Looks like the son was receiving no special treatment. He stated his location as Moscow Central Deportation [PERESILNAYA] Prison [abbreviated], cell #11

jlechtanski - 4/29/2007 at 17:39

As I understand it, Poles were not necessarily Russian citizens. Poles that were not, were treated like second-class citizens.

During the liberalization after the Revolution of 1905, Polish schools reopened. Soon after, Russification in Russian Poland resumed.

In 1907 the Czar suspended the Duma. It was decreed that Polish schools were to teach exclusively in the Russian language. The election laws were changed to place non-Russian citizens at a disadvantage.

In 1908 Poles had to register their occupation and work address to control their movement. The Polish Civil Service was required to give the senior positions to Russian citizens.

Is this a letter from a mathematics teacher/professor awaiting deportation back to Warsaw?

oldteddy - 4/29/2007 at 18:55

As I understand the card is written by a convict (KATORZHANIN). He is in that prison for at least few months and expects to be there long enough to receive his TRIGONOMETRY. Again, some abbreviations are not clear to me but looks like he has a TERM (SROK). He is well-educated and writes very intelligent Russian. His profession (if he has one - may be he is still a student) is not clear. He thanks his father for MAPS (KARTI) he received before. It's not playing cards (the same word in Russian as for maps)

I think prison mail collectors (unless this species died out) would be of more help.

mvarfolo - 5/1/2007 at 12:33

I agree, he is definitely in prison for the duration, this is not deportation-related. If anything, the guy is convicted and going east, way east...
Perhaps not for the first time - he is writing that "as usual" all the government pens are bad.

Small problem in identification - Kuczynski (or any spelling variation) is one of the most popular names. Excellent news though is that you have the father's address, the family comes from Warsaw and not from some god-forsaken village, and since they are obviously not a bunch of nobodies, there will be plenty of documents about the family.

If you are really interested in pursuing the knowledge about the sender and recipient and do not have any friends who are historians/archivists in Warsaw and not planning to travel there, it's still possible for a modest fee to get info from Central Warsaw State Archive.

More info here:

Moscow archives also have fairly complete info on every prisoner from the time.
And obviously, the value of the researched letter is much higher :)

Just $.02.

Gary - 5/1/2007 at 14:14

Originally posted by mvarfolo

Moscow archives also have fairly complete info on every prisoner from the time.
And obviously, the value of the researched letter is much higher :)

Just $.02.

Is there an URL associated with the Moscow archives?

mvarfolo - 5/1/2007 at 15:16

General ministry of internal affairs documents are in St.Petersburg, RGIA, but you'd need police dept records - which are in Moscow, both for criminals and political prisoners (IIIrd Dept., etc.).
They very likely will be able to locate the case and xerox it for a moderate fee. Since you have a date - should be a real piece of cake, no extensive search is necessary.

general overview of Russian archival system and links :

Cheers, Michael

Gary - 5/1/2007 at 15:56

Thanks for the links. They appear to be very useful and I as well as others will use them a lot!:)