Today all terms have ended, But near the gates of the labor camp, That are locked with heavy bolts, A sign: "Everyone had left for front." We’ll be forgiven for our sins, That’s just how our people are - If the nation is in danger, That means people go to war! There’s one year instead of three, Like an examination in the camp. Now all of us are equal to guards, Everyone had left for the front. Our chief sergeant Beryozkin Has a brag and has deceit, And his soul is criss-crossed, But he also went to the front. He would have been better off in the rear, He had courage just with us. The tribunal rewarded him And for treason he was shot. As for us... We justified everything, Later we received rewards: Those who came alive, got medals, And the dead ones got the cross. And all other prisoners Will soon read on the gates, Our glazed eternal memory: "Everyone had left for the front."
© Nathan Mer. Translation, 1991