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Free Study Guide for The Fixer by Bernard Malamud

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The fixer had difficulty believing it. The indictment was ready. Half an hour after he was thus informed, Yakov was on his way, by trolley, to Prosecuting Attorney Grubeshov's office in the Plossky Courthouse. Yakov's eyes devoured the sights as he traveled to the courthouse. His mind went over all the possibilities that could flow from the indictment. Someone on the trolley recognized Yakov as the killer of the Christian child. He alerted the other passengers to Yakov's presence. The detective who was with Yakov calmed them down.

When they reached Grubeshov's office, Yakov sat before Grubeshov's desk and shook. This was because Yakov thought of what had been done to Bibikov and what had happened to him because of the man before him. Grubeshov produced about twenty long sheets of blue paper. He asked Yakov if he thought differently now. Yakov told him that he still knew that he was not guilty of the crime. Grubeshov told him that no Russian jury would believe lies told by his lawyer. He said that the tsar was certain that Yakov was guilty. This was a blow to Yakov.

Grubeshov mentioned witnesses. In response to a question by Yakov, he mentioned Skobeliev, the janitor, who saw Yakov offering Zhenia some sweets at the brickyard and would testify to it. Lebedev had told Grubeshov that Skobeliev had been discharged from his job. Yakov was surprised by this bit of information. Grubeshov told Yakov that there was a lot that he didn't know. Grubeshov named other witnesses. A beggar saw Yakov go into a shop where knives were sharpened. Two witnesses from within that same shop would also testify. Experts on Jews would testify as well. There were a total of more than thirty witnesses against him. Grubeshov then mentioned a witness that surprised Yakov. They had records of Yakov's confessions while he slept, he said.

Yakov asked to see the indictment. Grubeshov suggested that Yakov confess. He said that, if he confessed, he would be helped to leave Russia.

Grubeshov told Yakov that he could no longer expect help from Bibikov. Yakov, actually already knowing the answer, asked what had happened to him. He was told that Bibikov was arrested for theft of funds and, disgraced, committed suicide.

Yakov asked to speak to Ivan Semyonovitch and was told that he had been arrested for not taking off his hat while "God Save the Tsar" was played.

Yakov again proclaimed his innocence. Grubeshov told him that no Jew was innocent. He said that Yakov was connected to the Jewish Kahal which was conspiring with the World Zionist Organization, the Alliance of Herzl and the Russian Freemasons. He mentioned a plot with the British to overthrow the Russian government. He also mentioned the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the Communist Manifesto.

Yakov said that he was not a revolutionist. He was a fixer.

Grubeshov locked the indictment in a drawer. He told Yakov to tell the warden if he changed his mind.

Lastly, Grubeshov wanted to know if Yakov was related to Baal Shem Tov or Rabbi Zalman Schneur of Ladi.



Yakov Bok was miserable, physically miserable and mentally miserable. The winter attacked him with its cold and wind. Nothing seemed to alleviate the cold. Running didn't. Even the flames of his evening fire did not warm him.

Yakov's thoughts made him gloomy. He was dumbfounded thinking about what he had learned about the tsar. The tsar himself thought that he was guilty. That is what he had heard. It was difficult to accept.

Yakov felt that being a Jew was like bearing a curse. He was tired of all he had to bear because he was a Jew.


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