University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

The Arina S. and Aleksandr I. Ginzburg Papers

MSE/REE 0004

Arina Sergeevna Ginzburg [born Altynova] (b. 1937, Moscow, Russia; Russian: Арина Сергеевна Гинзбург) is a prominent dissident and human rights activist, journalist, and the second administrator (1977-79) of the Solzhenitsyn Fund which provided assistance to Soviet political prisoners and their families. She was the wife of Aleksandr (Alik) Il'ich Ginzburg (1936-2002), one of the central figures of the Soviet dissident and human rights movement from its inception. Aleksandr Ginzburg served a total of 11 years in the Soviet Gulag for his "anti-Soviet" activities. In 1960 he was arrested and incarcerated for two years for the publication of the first uncensored samizdat poetry almanac (Sintaksis, 1959), which featured such poets as Joseph Brodsky and Dmitrii Bobyshev. He served five years (1967-1972) for his role in the samizdat publication of The White Book (Belaia Kniga), which documented the 1966 political trial of the two Soviet writers, Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel, who published their works in the West without Soviet authorization. Before his final arrest in 1977, Aleksandr Ginzburg was one of the founding members of the 1976 Moscow Helsinki Group, and the first administrator (1974-1977) of the Solzhenitsyn Fund. After immigrating to France in 1980, Arina Ginzburg joined the Russkaia Mysl/La Pensee Russee, the leading Russian émigré paper in Paris, where she worked as an associate editor until 1997. Aleksandr Ginzburg worked as Head of the Russian Cultural Center in Montgeron (1980-1988) and as a columnist for Russkaia Mysl (1988-1997).

The greater part of the collection contains materials relating to Aleksandr Ginzburg's second imprisonment (1967-1972). It includes: documents concerning the 1968 trial of Aleksandr Ginzburg, Yuri Galanskov, Aleksei Dobrovol'skii and Vera Lashkova; voluminous correspondence (over 8,000 pages) from Arina Ginzburg to her fiancée and future husband Aleksandr Ginzburg (whom she married in 1968 in a Mordova camp for political prisoners); letters and postcards from political prisoners to Arina Ginzburg; letters from family, leading dissidents, and writers to Aleksandr Ginzburg; letters from Aleksandr Ginzburg to his family.

The collection also includes material relating to Aleksandr Ginzburg's third imprisonment (1977-79) and material relating to Arina's and Aleksandr's work in Paris, including the KGB search protocols (1975, 1977), documents of the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group (1977), and documents relating to the suppression of religious freedom in the USSR, including activities of the All-Russian Social Christian Union for the Liberation of the People and of its founder Igor Ogurtsov. The collection holds audio recordings Arina Ginzburg did as a contributing journalist for the Russian Service of the Voice of America (1980s and 90s), reports on political and social conditions inside the USSR, and correspondence with prominent dissidents and writers. There are also numerous photographs (over 500 items) of the Ginzburg family and the everyday life of Soviet dissidents during the 1960s and 1970s.