Museum exhibit /Cigar-case, made in the Marfino –sharashka
A cigar-case made out of Perspex, made by Nikolai Andreeevich Semenov (1906-1996) while he was a prisoner in the Special Prison No.16 of the MGB SSSR OKB [Ministry of State Security of the USSR Joint Design Office], the Marfino “sharashka” [a sharashka was a research and development office employing prisoners], near Moscow, in 1946. N.A. Semenov made the cigar-case as a New Year present for his son. He put a home-made greetings card inside and sent it as a parcel. N.A. Semenov gave the cigar-case to the Research and Information Centre “Memorial” (St Petersburg) in 1992. (Photo 19.12.2007). 
 
 
 
 
Authenticity
 
Registration number in museum acquisition book KP-41
 
Date of acquisition1992
 
Types of exhibitsMuseum exhibits/Objects/
 
Thematic indexPrison/
 
Thematic indexLife in Captivity/
 
Thematic indexLife in Captivity/
 
Date and place of creationBetween 1947 and 1949, the “Marfino” Joint Design Office.
 
SizeLength – 12.7cm, width – 9.8cm, height 1.8cm. Postcard 11.6 x 8.7cm.
 
Materials
 
Materials
 
Materials
 
Description of exhibitA cigar-case made from yellow perspex and glued together. In cross-section it has the appearance of a flat, rectangular box with a lid that is fastened freely on two metal pivots and on one side fixed by a rosewood fastener. A home-made postcard was inserted into the cigar-holder, drawn on a rectangular, landscape-orientated sheet of drawing-paper. The drawing and the inscriptions are done in black and red ink and coloured pencils (red, blue, green and brown). In the centre of the postcard there is a stylized duckling in a peakless cap and with a sailor’s collar. The duckling is holding a half-unrolled scroll, on which appears the inscription in black and red ink: “Pozdravliaiu s Novym godom i zhelaiu prozhit’ ego luchshe, chem. proshlye” [ “Happy New Year, and I hope life will better than in past years”]. On the right-hand side of the page of the card there is a drawing of a fir-tree in green pencil. On the reverse side of the page there are no inscriptions, but half-effaced sketches of geometric shapes are visible.
 
State of preservationThe lid is broken off on one side and one side has been broken off. The exhibit requires some restoration-work. The card is damaged along the edges and there are small tears in the paper (0.5cm).
 
Detailed annotationThe cigar-case made out of perspex was made by prisoner Nikolai Andreevich Semenov (1906-1996) in the Marfino “sharashka” (Moscow) as a present for his son and it was sent in an enclosed home-made postcard in a parcel for the New Year. On the front of the card there is an inscription, accompanied by a drawing, which reads: “Pozdravliaiu s Novym godom i zhelaiu prozhit’ ego luchshe, chem. proshlye” [“Happy New Year and I hope life will be better than in past years”]. The postcard has been in the cigar-case from the time it was made until the present day. The exact year when it was made is uncertain, but it could be 1948 or 1949. The cigar-case was kept in the family, but was not used as such. In 1966 N.A.Semenov returned to Leningrad and lived with his son’s family. In 1992 he gave the cigar-case to the museum of the Research and Information Centre “Memorial” (St Petersburg).
 
PersonsSemenov Nikolai Andreevich, maker, creator of the collection
 
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Web page?Yes
 
 
Museum exhibit /Cigar-case, made in the Marfino –sharashka