What had happened with everyone?

My factory was located in a backyard, in a place that was not easily visible from the street. Beyond the yard was a pile of sand and stones over which the electric train rode. When Berel had left to call Lilia that morning, he had crossed the tracks and as soon as he ran down the embankment two men in civilian clothes approached him, grabbed him, and shoved him into a car that was parked on the side of the road. They warned him to remain silent. At first he didn’t know whether he had fallen into the clutches of thieves or the KGB.

He was thrown into the back seat of the car and the two men who had grabbed him sat next to him, one on his right and one on his left. The man at the wheel began driving quickly. As they rode, the men at his side lifted his hat and discovered his yarmulke underneath.

“Why do you wear that?” they asked.

Berel said that since he did not have hair, it filled the empty space beneath his hat. Then they began quizzing him about where he was coming from and where he was running.

He told replied plainly—that he works in a factory and officials had come from the department of inspection. He explained that he had to run to a public phone in order to tell his factory’s representative to hurry and come quickly.

The car continued driving along the streets of Samarkand, and Berel noticed that they were approaching the KGB headquarters. When the gates were opened, he thought it was the end. He was taken to the interrogation room where they questioned him again as to where he was coming from and to where he was running, amongst other inquiries.

During this interrogation they took down information such as where he lived, which made him very concerned about the fate of the students who were learning there. When the interrogation was completed, seven agents left with Berel for the factory.

Ivan Ivanovitch, who had gone out for five minutes to buy cigarettes, and took half an hour to return, told us afterwards that he had also bumped into the KGB officers who were swarming the area. When they saw him leave the factory they grabbed him and questioned him as well as to where he was from and where he was going. They detained him for a short while until they realized that he was not connected with us and he was released.

Michoel Mishulovin had also fallen into the hands of the KGB. He said that after he had exited the factory and turned into a small alleyway in the direction of the lake, a man in civilian clothes chased after him and ordered him to halt. The KGB agent interrogated him too. Michoel told him that he worked in the area and since he was not feeling well, he had decided to go to the lake and refresh himself.

The KGB agent searched him and after failing to find anything suspicious, released him. Michoel realized what a miracle it was that he had left the small Tanya in our office. If the Tanya had been in his pocket, the KGB agent would surely have found it and seen that it was printed in New York, which was reason enough to arrest him and accuse him of having ties with the West.