He was placed in solitary confinement. For many weeks, he was not allowed out of his cell, a chamber six and a half paces long. He was verbally abused by the guards, ignored by the prison authorities, and led to believe that he had been sentenced to death. At night, he listened to men crying for their mothers as they were dragged out of their cells to be shot. Once, he heard a priest, accompanied by guards, going from cell to cell leading prisoners out to be executed. When they reached his door, the priest began to fumble at the bolt. “No, not this one,” a guard said, and they moved on.
Read the rest of Louis Menand's article on Arthur Koestler in The New Yorker.