Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Hans N. Tuch
TUCH: We lived in this apartment for nine months, and then a very strange thing happened. Suddenly, one noticed that the building was deteriorating much more rapidly than most new buildings in Moscow deteriorated. We were used to the fact that over the first floor of most apartment buildings, new apartment buildings in Moscow, there was a net so that falling bricks from the building would hit the net and not the pedestrian walking down the street. But that was sort of standard throughout Moscow. In the newest sections, you had nets over the sidewalks for falling bricks. Well, we had that, too, and nobody paid very much attention to that because it was standard. Then they built a canopy, a wooden canopy, over the entrance so that you wouldn't be hit by falling things as you entered the building. Suddenly, many of us noticed cracks in our walls—real cracks—in even the supporting walls. We reported this and were told, among others, by Idar Rimestad, “Don't worry, these are not supporting walls. This is just the building settling.” It was built about a year before that time. So one worried, but one didn't worry too much, because the apartment was fairly decent.
One morning, in our apartment, we were sitting at breakfast, and there was a tremendous crash. We rushed into the living room, and the window plus the frame had simply broken out and crashed outward. In other words, the building had shifted, so that the frame and the windows just disappeared. This was duly reported. Suddenly, the Soviets became apparently very concerned, because one of the gas mains had cracked, too, in the basement, and they were immediately afraid of gas explosions.
Q: What period of year was this?
TUCH: This was in the spring of '59, March of '59.
Q: Still cold.