The Death of Ilya Gabai (1935-1973), 30.1

<< No 30 : 31 December 1973 >>

♦  Ilya Yankelevich GABAI is dead. He committed suicide on 20 October by jumping from the balcony of his 11th-floor flat  ♦

More than a hundred people gathered at the Nikolskoye Crematorium in Moscow to pay their last respects to him. His ashes have been interred beside his father’s grave in Baku.

llya Gabai

A teacher and a poet, Gabai was 38 years old. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

One can only conjecture about the cause of his death. But explanations such as the effects of prison, interrogations, searches or the enforced idleness of a talented individual do not accord with one’s conception of Gabai.

To all those who knew him Ilya Gabai — an exceptionally compassionate man with an unrelenting sense of personal responsibility — was the embodiment of a moral presence. And even his last desperate act contains, probably, a message which it is incumbent upon his friends to understand…

See Ilya Gabai’s Last Words (Tashkent, 1970), CCE 35.13