The Man Who Walked Through A Blizzard And A Desert To Escape The Gulags

The true story behind the Peter Weir movie The Way Back is a bit more complicated than it might seem. That's because the events probably occurred, but the person who lived them may not be who we think. Weir's movie is based on a book titled The Long Walk, a biographical book about Slavomir (Slawomir) Rawicz, a Polish man imprisoned in the dreaded Gulag labor camps of Russia at the beginning of WWII.

He claimed to escape and walk 4,000 miles to India. When Weir was researching for his movie, though, it turned out there was no evidence Rawicz himself took the famous long walk from Siberia to India. Instead another Polish man, Witold Glinski, may have been the one to accomplish the feat.

The story, if real, is one of strength, bravery, ingenuity, and pure luck. To even escape the devastating Gulag in itself is a nearly impossible feat — to do so and then trek through a blizzard and across a desert to freedom is remarkable. Here's what we know about how this insane endeavor was accomplished.