The decision for Editions Noir sur Blanc to publish this book was made the moment I laid eyes on the face of Aleksei Zheltikov, a locksmith in the Moscow subway, arrested on July 18, 1937, and photographed in prison the night he was executed. This man with an unforgettable expression was one of the 750,000 victims of the Great Purge, victims who remained, until now, anonymous. On Stalin’s order, over the course of fourteen months, these individuals from highly diverse social backgrounds were “erased,” their families left in the dark about their fate.
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