Sofia Malylju

Born in 1926 in Czechoslovakia. Studied in Prague. Arrested in Lvov in 1948. Passed through the Gulag at Kolyma and Tayshet. Released in 1956.

Sofia Malylju (3.12.1926–19.10.2015) was born in the village of Vyšný Verecký (Verkhni Vorota today) in Carpathian Ruthenia in Czechoslovakia, the seventh of nine children. Her father was a farmer and her mother was a homemaker. The director of the general school in her native village recommended that, as a gifted student, Maliju study in Prague, where in 1937–1945 she attended a grammar school in the Modřany district. After the war she returned to Carpathian Ruthenia, though it soon became part of the Soviet Union.

In 1947 she began attending the Ivan Franko University in Lviv, where she studied French philology. As a second year student she was arrested by the secret police on 2 November 1948 on suspicion of involvement in “international espionage”. After a year of interrogation the remand prisoner was sentenced to 10 years in the Gulag labour camps. She was transported by train and later ship to Magadan in the Kolyma region, from where she was sent another 350km north to the Khenikandzha camp, where she worked for four years in a lead mine. In 1954 she was sent to a labour camp in Tayshet, where she worked as a pharmacist.

Two years later, in 1956, she was freed and rehabilitated. Malilju returned to university in Lviv, completing the French philology studies interrupted by prison. She suffered from depression following her imprisonment in Magadan and never married or had children. In the 1960s she taught at elementary schools. After the breakup of the Soviet Union and the establishment of independent Ukraine she settled in Mukacheve, where she started writing poetry and became a celebrated writer. Four of her titles have come out in book form: Go Believe (1994, Uzzhorod); The Resurrection of Memory (1999, Uzzhorod); Her Soul Lives (2006, Lviv); Hopes (2008, Lviv).


Return to original orientation of tablet, or