The poem I am glad to be a man by Maksim Tank includes these lines:

Only I, having lived through a past
Of prison, hard frost, loss of freedom,
Villages ruined to ash...

Is Maksim Tank talking about himself in this poem? Did he personally go to prison? If so, under what circumstances and why?

1 Answer 1


Yes, Maksim Tank (real name Jaŭhien Skurko) spent about two years in prison in all. His home village of Piĺkaŭščyna was in Western Belorussia, which was part of Poland between the world wars. Discrimination against ethnic Belarusian and Ukranian minorities was the norm in the Second Polish Republic. Tank resented this treatment and developed pro-Soviet sympathies. He joined a communist youth movement in 1928, when he was around sixteen. His participation in this movement included writing for underground publications. His activism led to his arrest in 1932. He escaped to the Soviet Union, but was deported back to West Belarus, where he was in and out of prison several times for a total of about two years. In the aftermath of the Second World War, Western Belorussia was annexed by the Soviets and made part of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Thereupon he became part of the governing class and was no longer imprisoned.

Source: Wikipedia articles on Maksim Tank, Western Belorussia, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the Second Polish Republic.

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