Lisa Paul, a Wisconsin native with close family ties to Merrill, will share her true story—personal, powerful, and politically explosive—set in the Soviet Union’s waning years and recounted in her book, “Swimming in the Daylight: An American Student, a Soviet-Jewish Dissident, and the Gift of Hope,” in T.B. Scott Free Library’s Community Room at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 6.
Paul took a leave from her Russian studies in college to live and work in Moscow from 1983 to 1985 as a nanny for an American family. She soon developed a friendship with Inna Kitrosskaya Meiman, her Russian tutor, a Soviet-Jewish dissident, and refusenik. Lisa became fully exposed to the perverse reality of the Soviet regime through the lens of her friendship, when the government refused to allow Inna to travel abroad to receive lifesaving treatment for her cancer.
Lisa, however, refused to give up on her friend. She returned to the United States and, racing against time, launched a campaign for Inna’s freedom, culminating in a three-week hunger strike that galvanized American politicians to demand Inna’s immediate release. Throughout the ordeal, meanwhile, Inna maintained hope, even as her health crisis became increasingly desperate.
Paul’s book includes a foreword by Natan Scharansky, a famous Soviet dissident who spent 13 years confined in Siberia for multiple crimes including treason. He writes, “The touching and very human story of Lisa and Inna’s friendship demonstrates that triumph over oppression is possible when an individual chooses action over indifference.”
Lisa Paul’s presentation is part of T.B. Scott Library’s Words Worth Hearing series. Copies of “Swimming in the Daylight” will be available for sale and signing. Refreshments will be served, including coffee graciously provided by First Street Coffee Station and cookies from The Checkered Churn. Call 715-536-7191 or check www.tbscottlibrary.org for more information about T.B. Scott Library events.