The Fixer: Part V – Page 1,2,3,4,5,6

Part V
1. Pages 139-143Yakov is sent by Grubeshov to the Kiev Prison to await his trial. He tells Yakov that there is too much evidence against him, to which Yakov replies that all the evidence is wrong. “ ‘Evidence is evidence,’” Grubeshov tells him, “‘it can’t be wrong.’” He suggests that things will go better for Yakov if he confesses that he was ordered by other Jews to carry out the murder. Yakov refuses to name innocent people for the crime. Grubeshov says that surely Yakov, a freethinker rather than a devout Jew, does not care what happens to other Jews. Yakov refuses such a confession. Grubeshov warns that soon all of Russia will know what “the facts” of the case and will believe them simply because everyone knows Jews are evil. Even their facial characteristics have been proven by science to confirm this. When Yakov talks back to Grubeshov, he is beaten. Grubeshov threatens to keep Yakov in prison until he confesses to the murder.

2. Pages 143-146At the Kiev Prison, Yakov comes under the rule of Warden Grisitskoy and the Deputy Warden, who clearly dislikes Jews. They make clear to Yakov that if he does not follow rules, all will go badly for him. He is given dirty prison clothes, an old coat, and prison shoes. Unlike other prisoners, he is not shaved bald; they want him to obviously stick out as Jewish.

3. Pages 146-153Yakov is put in a cell with other men. Each prisoner is given a pail of watery soup and forced to share a spoon. Inside one prisoner’s pail is a dead mouse; cockroaches float in others. Yakov hears rumors that the same pails are used in the bathhouse. Yakov is not given any bread because he is not on the bread list. Yakov suspects that the other prisoners have discovered he is the Jew accused of killing the Christian boy. One prisoner, Fetyukov, questions him, then he and two other prisoners beat Yakov up. Yakov discovers that he is being tested; the men want to see if he will tell on them. When he does not, he is treated more kindly by Fetyukov, who shares some food with him and tells him to have hope.

4. Pages 153-163Three months go by, and Yakov is still in the prison. He tries to find a reason why this has happened to him. Sometimes he blames God, but he also blames the Goyim (non-Jewish). He also blames himself. At the heart of it all, he feels, is a “quality of fate that had stalked him all his life and threatened, if he wasn’t careful, his early extinction.” He grows frustrated that no one will listen to his side of the story, yet they instantly believe witnesses like Marfa Golov, who clearly is a stained woman. He realizes that being born Jewish means history will always be against him.One night, a new prisoner arrives. Yakov makes friends with the man, Gregor Gronfein, who is also Jewish and claims to be a counterfeiter. Gronfein tells Yakov that Jews on the outside see him as a martyr, and that he must not lose his faith that God will help him. Gronfein asks Yakov a lot of questions, but he also seems full of information. He says that The Black Hundreds are planning a pogrom against the Jews when Yakov’s trial begins. One day, Gronfein is taken out of the cell for thirty minutes; he returns to tell Yakov that he is being released that evening. Yakov assumes that the bribe he hoped to pay has worked. Before he leaves, Gronfein slips Yakov some money and also talks him into writing a letter to Shmuel, which Gronfein will deliver. Yakov accepts his offer and writes to both Shmuel and to Aaron Latke, asking that they help him and that they tell others what is happening to him.After Gronfein is released, Yakov is called to the warden’s office, where the warden holds up the two letters. Gronfein has turned them over to the Warden. Yakov understands that Gronfein must have made a deal to set up Yakov in return for his release. In addition, the warden and the Deputy Warden produce another letter in which Gronfein has sworn that Yakov bribed him to poison one of the brickyard workers who saw him kidnap Zhenia and also bribed him to pay off Marfa Golov so she will not testify against him. Yakov realizes that Gronfein has used his counterfeiting skills to produce this letter in Yakov’s writing.Yakov is sent to solitary confinement as punishment for breaking the rules and attempting to contact the outside world.

5. Pages 163-176Bibikov comes to see Yakov in prison one night. He tells Yakov that he is under great pressure to confirm rather than refute the “evidence” Grubeshov has gathered against Yakov. Even the Minister of Justice expects this. Bibikov has grown nervous and suspects he may be followed. He tells Yakov that he is pretending to cooperate with the others but secretly amassing his own evidence of Yakov’s innocence, which he could reveal to the press at the right moment.Bibikov’s investigation has led him to believe that Marfa Golov and her gang of thieves killed Zhenia in the Golov house. Zhenia had apparently argued with his mother and threatened to tell the police of her activities. She kept Zhenia’s body in the bathtub over a week, then had it moved to the cave. Marfa then wrote a letter to the police suggesting that the Jews did the crime. Proshko and Richter were the ones who burned down the stable in the brickyard to hide evidence of Yakov’s innocence.Bibkov refers to old decrees that prohibit violence against Jews in Russia, which he believes Grubshov is aware of but is ignoring. Grubeshov is also purposely refusing to learn the truth about Jewish history and rituals: that Jews do not drink blood for any purposes. He also tell Yakov that Father Anastasy is a defrocked priest and is agitating for a pogrom against the Jews. Bibikov says that he remains an optimist in the midst of this corruption because if he were a pessimist, he would be paralyzed by his pessimism and never accomplish anything.He tells Yakov that his case will be hard to defend in a place like Russia, where ignorance and violence go hand in hand, but that he will keep working to prove Yakov’s innocence.

6. Pages 176-180A prisoner has been installed in the cell next to Yakov’s. Yakov can hear the man muttering, and soon they try to communicate by beating on the wall between them. Yakov, however, can make no sense of the tappings the prisoner makes. He feels stupid. Soon, the other prisoner ceases communication. One night, Yakov hears footsteps in the corridor and a muffled cry. The next morning, the guard carelessly leaves his door unlocked, so Yakov ventures out after carefully considering his actions. He peers into the cell next door and discovers Bibikov, hanging by a leather belt tied to the window bar, dead.

AnalysisYakov can see now that no matter what evidence is found to prove his innocence, it will be squelched by those in charge. They have even gone so far as to silence the one man who can prove Yakov’s innocence and who is brave enough to do so. Either they have killed Bibikov themselves and made it look like suicide, or they have driven Bibikov to suicide. The most damning “evidence” against Yakov is that he is Jewish. And now he is without any defender at all.