Harsh conditions in the labor colonies of GULAG

In the period from 1930 to 1960 in the USSR there were corrective labor colonies of GULAG. They got not only the perpetrators but also often innocent people, on which hung the label "enemy of the people". The number of innocent convicts was great, they had to endure all the hardships of a harsh camp life. And to come back from behind the barbed wire home was destined not for everyone.

Harsh conditions in the labor colonies of GULAG


Largest correctional facility in the Soviet Union was the Solovki prison camp - elephants. It was founded in 1923 on the territory of the Solovetsky Archipelago, on the site of a former monastery. By the end of 1933, the official number of prisoners here was 19287 people, of whom more than 10,000 were killed.

Harsh conditions in the labor colonies of GULAG

The prisoners were sent to the logging, railway construction, peat extraction. From generation depended on the daily share of bread. Sometimes, in order to mock the prisoners, the guards forced them prodelyvat useless work: drag from place to place stones or count seagulls.

The book 10Colovetskoy encyclopedia devoted to the history of the camp, it is reported that one day the head of SLON decided to punish the prisoners for 34 Failure to plan for harvesting, forcing the stand on the ice of the White Sea, and stand there the whole night at minus 30 degrees. As a result, most died in the hospital, and those who survived had to amputate frostbitten limbs.

It was especially hard for women to die from toil and hunger, many of them joined in an intimate connection with the guards, who gave them the job easier. Rapes also occurred here. Often such "unions" are born children, which, of course, the "fathers" did not recognize. Many women in despair killed newborns and follow them commit suicide.

Akmola "a prison for mothers"

In 1938 in Kazakhstan it was founded Akmola camp for wives of traitors of the repressed. ALGERIA - as he was nicknamed the inmates - was gated, surrounded by several rows of barbed wire. Family visits or letters here are strictly prohibited. So contained "extremely dangerous" criminals. Women have been involved in the fields or on construction.

Harsh conditions in the labor colonies of GULAG

The heating in the barracks was not, so in the winter female prisoners had a pretty tight. The temperature is not greater than 6-8 degrees. To keep warm, the women collected reeds from the lake, which was located on the territory of the prison, and drowned them small stoves. By order of female prisoners have been granted the kind of thing, but in fact no one gave out.

Survived the horrors of the Algerian camp Galina Stepanova-Klyuchnikova recalled that some of the local women had babies who were placed in special barracks. Mothers brought back under police escort, and only for breastfeeding. When the baby was executed for 3 years, he was transferred to an orphanage.

Harsh conditions in the labor colonies of GULAG

In 1939, the prison was transferred to the normal mode, which meant the abolition of complete isolation from the outside world. Now prisoners can receive parcels and to communicate with relatives. The first letter came from eight girls, addressed to one of the prisoners. It was listed on the back of the recipient's address: "The City of Akmola. Prison for mothers. "

Vorkuta hard labor

One of the largest labor camp was Vorkutlag through the walls of which have been around 73,000 people. This drove the traitors, spies and traitors. The prisoners were completely isolated from the outside world and perform the hardest work. Prisoners forced to coal mining and mine construction. Former prisoner Sulimov JH recalled that among the prisoners met the boys from 12 to 15 years. Exhausted further transmitting and terrible power, they looked like wild beasts, wild and frightened. We sent them there for disorderly conduct.

Harsh conditions in the labor colonies of GULAG

Food, medical care and sanitary condition left much to be desired. Many exhausted and emaciated people died. Some sources report that the corpses piled in one room, and when to grab the frost, were taken on a sled in the tundra, where it is simply discarded. But the documentary evidence for this has been found.

In 1953, in the nearby camp of Vorkuta uprising broke out: the prisoners refused to go to work until until you have reviewed their cases, changed the content of the power mode and improved. Of course, nobody was going to meet these requirements. As a result of the rebellion, about 60 people were killed and 135 wounded. Some of them later died, too.

Harsh conditions in the labor colonies of GULAG

Death Valley - Butugychak

The most terrible labor camps of the Gulag was Butugychak, founded in 1937 in the Magadan region. The colonies developed tin and uranium mines. Prisoners mined ore with his bare hands, without any protective equipment. Of course, the high level of radiation would not affect the health of many of them a couple of weeks died of exposure. Those who refused to work in the galleries, were sent to work on the surface of the frost. This is evidenced by the memories of the former prisoner Butugychag Zhigulina Anatolia.

Harsh conditions in the labor colonies of GULAG

In the photo the entrance to the tunnel Butugychaka uranium.

Information about Butugychake was strictly classified at the state level, and all traces of ill-treatment of persons subject to destruction. When the prisoners were sent to other camps of Kolyma, with each taking a subscription to disclose. For each released then carefully watched the KGB. This was told by AV Zhigulin in his autobiographical novel. There are versions that the camp has a medical laboratory in which experiments were conducted on prisoners abdominal operations in gas masks and brain through the craniotomy. This information was allegedly confirmed by a lot of terrible finds where the frontal half of neatly sawn off from the bottom, but other than photos "finds place" there is no reliable information.

Harsh conditions in the labor colonies of GULAG

Mother and Child Zone

Most unlucky children, who either came with their mothers, or were born in the walls of the camp. On April 1941 prison contained 2,500 women with young children, 8,500 pregnant women. Often fathers became the warders, guards, other prisoners, voluntary workers. Rape has become a common practice camps.

Harsh conditions in the labor colonies of GULAG

Amnesty childbirth was not provided. From the work of the women freed themselves before birth as well as diapers they issued portyanochnoy piece of fabric. The first months after the birth of a child feeding mother. If she was late for feeding at least for a moment, it might not have a baby.

Then the children become looked after by a nanny. Some sources claim that they did not hesitate to beat or kick, and to feed - his hands tied behind his back and forcibly stuffed the burning heat porridge.

Some nurses had their own children, so they could easily take away food from another child to feed her. According to them, it is not surprising that the infant mortality rate in the camps was very high. Of course, there have been benevolent, loving relating to children. One of these was Elena Ivanova (Markov). In his memoirs, she told me that the surviving children have developed very poorly, later started to talk and walk, because there was no one to engage with them.