As late as 1950, Isaak Filshtinsky, an Arabic specialist arrested in 1948, was still sleeping beneath his coat in Kargopollag, with spare rags for pillows.66, The 1948 directive also called for all earthen floors in barracks to be replaced by wooden floors. If it was a great distance, they would be accompanied by guards and dogs. Bernard Newman, a more observant writer, describes an episode called … Roger #3676043, posted on November 30, 2020 at 8:40 pm ... Whereupon she spent the next while wandering around my front yard playing with leaves and bits of grass, falling over, and quizzically watching the noisy miners arriving for bread supplies. A good example is the audience being told that Ivan isn't having custard for his breakfast but a porridge composed of boiled grass Director Casper Wrede probably does his best considering the problems inherent in making an unfilmable novel for cinema . One zek, assigned to a brigade, panning gold in Kolyma, had to sift through 150 wheelbarrows a day. . Even in these photographs, taken for propaganda purposes, therezhim prisoners have no mattresses, and are shown sharing blankets.79, In some camps, the etiquette surrounding sleeping arrangements became quite elaborate. 9 posts Page 1 of 1. They were sent away on a transport to another lagpunkt the following day, as the camp administration preferred to avoid mass murder.23 Another woman, feeling herself in danger of rape and possibly murder at the hands of a criminal prisoner, “turned herself in” to the vakhta, and asked to be placed in the camp punishment cell for the night for protection.24, The vakhta was not a reliable zone of safety, however. They were also held in by fear, which was sometimes enough to keep prisoners within a camp that had no fence at all. In the summer, by contrast, meat and fish went bad, and other foods spoiled. But when we finally got them on the wagon they lay quietly, and didn’t try to escape. At one o’clock came a half-hour break for lunch. Nor can very much be said about the customs and practices of the lagpunkts that is guaranteed to apply to every single one. I tried to push the feeling down, back into the depths of consciousness, but slowly it began to dawn on me that I was caught up in a cynical act of injustice from which there appeared to be no escape . Then tears of greeting, Mean tears of captivity . The mineral constituents present in the grass has made many people cut the leaf and boil it and taking the drink on a daily basis. Sometimes dogs also circled the camp, attached by chains to a metal wire which had been stretched all the way around the zona. After that, Pechora told me, she thought twice before complaining about the lack of food in the camps. Naturally we had no opportunity to inspect the output figures or the production plan, so that this convention was a fiction which in fact put us entirely at the mercy of the camp authorities.48, Even on their rare days off, it sometimes happened that prisoners were forced to do maintenance work within the camp, cleaning barracks, cleaning toilets, clearing snow in the winter.49 All of which makes one order, issued by Lazar Kogan, the commander of Dmitlag, particularly poignant. Jacques Rossi, in The Gulag Handbook , wrote that the fence is usually built of wooden posts with one-third of their length in the ground. Guards and camp authorities were plentiful enough inside the lagpunktduring the day, but they often disappeared completely at night. Solzhenitsyn, initially assigned the job of “works manager” upon his arrival at a camp in Moscow, was given a place in a barracks where instead of multiple bunks there were ordinary cots and one bed table for every two persons, not for a whole brigade. In 1948, the central Gulag administration issued a directive demanding that they all be replaced by vagonki.62 Nevertheless, Anna Andreeva, a prisoner in Mordovia in the late 1940s and early 1950s, slept on sploshnye nary, and remembers that many prisoners still slept on the floor beneath them too.63. The new prisoners all have green faces—green faces because of the lack of fresh air, miserable food, and all that. Margarete Buber-Neumann was kept in a low-security camp which allowed prisoners to “move freely up to within half a mile of the camp perimeter; after that the guards shot without ceremony.”9 This was unusual: in most camps, the guards would shoot “without ceremony” much sooner than that. This is because of the lack of fats, meat, fish, potatoes . For that reason, prisoners sought out jobs which gave them access to food—cooking, dishwashing, work in storage warehouses— in order to be able to steal. . In September 1942, after the German invasion, the Gulag’s administration officially extended the working day for prisoners building airport facilities to twelve hours, with a one-hour break for lunch. One memoirist recalls that in the aftermath of a brawl between political and criminal prisoners— a common phenomenon of the postwar period, as we shall see—the criminal losers “ran to the vakhta ,” begging for help. Served with a hearty plate of boiled grass. Those who slept on the lower bunks had less clout. The Gulag itself conducted periodic inspections of its camps, and kept records of what prisoners were actually eating, as opposed to what they were supposed to be eating. The dogs, managed by special dog-handlers among the guards, were trained to bark at approaching prisoners and to follow the scent and chase anyone attempting escape. Those who slept on the floor—the lowest-ranking prisoners in the camp— suffered most, remembered one prisoner: This level was called the “kolkhoz sector,” and it was to this level that the thieves forced the kolkhozniki— various aged intellectuals and priests, that is, and even some of their own, who had broken the theives’ moral code. Gram of Grass = 8 Years in a Bali Gulag? I like to chew on a stalk of Timothy Grass when I'm working in the pasture, it tastes sweet! Edward L. Jones, a U.S. war correspondent in the Pacific, wrote about the practice in the February 1946 edition of The Atlantic Monthly: "We boiled the flesh off enemy skulls to make table ornaments for sweethearts, or carved their bones into letter-openers." The number of days off work was also mandated by law. An inspection of Birlag in 1940 determined that “the entire lunch for working zeks consists of water, plus 130 grams of grain, and that the second course is black bread, about 100 grams. Anna Rozina slept in the cobbler’s workshop when she worked as a cobbler in the Temnikovsky camp, and had the “right” to go to the baths more often as well, all of which counted as great privileges. Anyone caught violating the decree would be sentenced to ten nights in the penal cell . Even the smallest lagpunkts kept copious records, listing the daily normfulfillments of each prisoner, and the amount of food due as a result. This clash between what the Gulag administration in Moscow thought the camps were supposed to be, and what they actually were on the ground— the clash between the rules written on paper, and the procedures carried out in practice—was what gave life in the Gulag its peculiar, surreal flavor. Not for God, But for you, Russia.”. [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies] To: E. Pluribus Unum. Lv 6. In practice, the rules were broken. if you always split your ration and put aside a part of it for the evening, you are finished. more boiled water in a cup, the typical retort was, "The prosecutor will give you more!" . On a typical day, he worked from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., and then again from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m.41, In any case, the rules were often broken. This problem “constantly threatened to disorganize the entire feeding system.”120, Transporting food in winter to distant lagpunkts was also a problem, particularly for those camps without their own bakeries. Margarete Buber-Neumann records that on her arrival in camp, there was actually no sleeping space at all within the barracks, and she was forced to spend the first few nights on the floor of the washroom.61, Ordinary prisoners were meant to be given beds known as vagonki , a name taken from the beds found on the wagons of passenger trains. Though the other inmates found it delicious and scarfed it up every opportunity that they had to get it. Carefully, he sweeps away a thick layer of moss, carves a narrow strip of outer bark with his machete, drops the piece into his shopping bag, and then rubs the tree’s wound with soil and moss to protect it against fungal attack. 5) They are forced to eat boiled grass and leaves, as well as soup or coffee garnished with rats and frogs. Bulgaria's Teddy Boy War. The prisoners are, if not exactly smiling for the photographers, then at least reading newspapers and looking well-fed. If someone were missing, everyone would have to wait, while they searched for the shirker.27. ... .The only way this film would be close to reality would be to have … Instead, the same inert bureaucracy that would eventually lay its dead hand on virtually every aspect of life in the Soviet Union slowly took over the Gulag as well. A Russian national, Evgenii Voronkin (30), has heard State Prosecutor I Nyoman Triarta Kurniawan demand eight years in prison at his online trial underway in Denpasar for possession of the modest quantity of 1.19 grams of marijuana. . To this day, a Russian acquaintance of mine will not eat brown bread of any kind, because, as a child during the war in Kazakhstan, he ate nothing else. Chris From The Gulag Online Member Posts: 10336 Joined: Sat Sep 17, … ... and Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA) but also by numerous grass-roots … They range from 2.5 to 6 meters (7.5 to 18 feet) high, depending on local conditions. Informed of some outrage committed by one group of prisoners against the other, they were just as likely to laugh. Meanwhile, their clothes were boiled to kill the lice ...98, Arginskaya also remembers that “in principle it was possible to go to the baths as much as you wanted” in Kengir, where there were no restrictions on water. . Regulations stated that all prisoners should have a new towel every year, a pillowcase every four years, sheets every two years, and a blanket every five years.64In practice, “a so-called straw mattress went with each prisoner’s bed,” wrote Elinor Lipper: There was no straw in it and rarely hay, because there was not enough hay for the cattle; instead it contained wood shavings or extra clothes, if a prisoner still owned any extra clothes. They poured five or six of these mugs into a tub, and that sufficed for everyone, for the washing and rinsing of five or six people.” At the Sopka lagpunkt , “water was brought there, like other freight, along the narrow railway and narrow road. As late as 1955, prisoners in some camps were still living in tents.55, If and when the prisoners did build barracks, they were invariably extremely simple buildings, made of wood. Workers in the Kolyma region in the early 1930s also worked normal hours, fewer in winter and more in summer.34 Within the decade, however, the working day had doubled in length. 148. The pattern was the same all over the USSR. 139, In some cases the inspection system did make an impact: some camps, fearing trouble, made an effort to fulfill the letter if not the spirit of the law. In 1939, a Kolyma doctor actually filed a formal complaint to the camp boss, pointing out that prisoners were being made to eat their food outdoors, and that it froze while it was being eaten.126 Overcrowding was a problem for food distribution too: one prisoner remembered that in the lagpunkt adjacent to the Maldyak mine in Magadan, there was one serving window for more than 700 people. . One New Grass Roots Initiative Launched ... Me , In Worksop , Without A Safety Net ! All this is cast out and then re-accumulated after each bathhouse day, unless it is buried somewhere deep in the snow. Many members of Congress, often working closely with the Ukrainian-American community, vigorously rose to their defense. The small museum housed in the headquarters of the Memorial Society in Moscow displays a number of these strangely moving items.130 As ever, the central Gulag administration was fully aware of these shortages, and occasionally tried to do something about them: the authorities at one point complimented one camp for making clever use of its leftover tin cans for precisely this purpose.131 But even when crockery and cutlery existed, there was often no way to clean it: one Dmitlag order “categorically” forbade camp cooks from distributing food in dirty dishes.132. No grass cutting, fishing, or travel to a citizen’s additional properties was allowed. Hunger was a powerful motivator nevertheless: the soup might have been inedible under normal circumstances, but in the camps, where most people were always hungry, prisoners ate it with relish. Adam Taylor. “Even bread which was still warm,” writes Narinsky, “when transported in a goods car for 400 kilometers in 50 degrees of frost became so frozen that it was unusable not only for human consumption, but even for fuel.”121 Despite the distribution of complex instructions for storing the scant vegetables and potatoes in the north during the winter, large quantities froze and became inedible. Small earthenware bowl in hand, one had to dash frantically to the canteen, stand in a long queue, receive some disgusting soya beans which disagreed with most people—and at all costs be back at the factory when the engines started working. A Blog From The Street. . . . This was how his camp’s boss ensured he received the amount stipulated by the Moscow bureaucracy. Informally, there was often another hierarchy at work within barracks as well. It was to be a longish ride so we headed off after some pea sp for late breakfast. For four years we had lived without doing all this and discovered in doing so that it was essential to our being: without it you ceased to feel like a normal person.20, You were brought in, you got out of the prison van, and you are surprised by several things. This probably explained why the majority of the men preferred to eat without spoons.”128 Another prisoner believed that she had remained alive because she “traded bread for a half-liter enamel bowl . 700,000 or approximately US$42. Panin, like many other camp survivors who lived through the hungry war years, also wrote eloquently about the individual rituals with which some prisoners ate their bread. And yet—in practice, things were very different. Counting them on his shirt he found sixty, and an hour later another sixty.”88, By the 1940s, the Gulag’s masters had long recognized the lethal danger of louse-borne typhus and, officially, conducted a constant battle against parasites. This latter privilege had been established early in the history of the camps, in the more chaotic years of the early 1930s. At Siblag, a large camp in western Siberia, a Soviet deputy prosecutor found that in the first quarter of 1941, food norms had been “systematically violated: meat, fish, and fats are distributed extremely rarely . Then there was nature. On a morning when it was snowing this was a long, cold agonizing process. Second, they look completely different from you. .”129, In the Camp Kitchen: prisoners lining up for soup—a drawing by Ivan Sykahnov, Temirtau, 1935–1937, Other prisoners made their own bowls and cutlery out of wood. In the absence of actual vitamin tablets, many forced prisoners to drink khvoya, a foul-tasting brew made out of pine needles and of dubious efficacy.124 By way of comparison, the norms for “officers of the armed forces” expressly stipulated vitamin C and dried fruit to compensate for the lack of vitamins in the regular rations. . In theory, the Gulag administration in Moscow dictated the smallest aspects of prisoners’ lives. 127, Food distribution could also be disrupted by events outside the camps: during the Second World War, for example, it often ceased altogether. Hunger was rife across the country—and the Gulag was not a high priority. 0 0. windgate. The regime determined when and how the prisoner should wake; how he should be marched to work; when and how he should receive food; when and for how long he should sleep. . You can write a book review and share your experiences. Petrov, again, writes that “soup still warm when received would become covered with ice during the period of time one man would wait for a spoon from another who had finished with one. Until the late 1940s, when the big national groups—the Ukrainians, Balts, Chechens, Poles—grew stronger, the best-organized prisoners were usually the convicted criminals, as we shall see. If barbed wire limited a zek’s freedom of movement to the zona, a series of orders and sirens regulated the hours he spent there. On the other hand, a piece of bread was something to look forward to during the day. . Seven to fifteen rows of barbed wire are stretched horizontally between the posts, which are about 6 meters (18 feet) apart. He didn’t stuff the bread into his mouth with trembling fingers.” 144, In the hungrier camps, in the hungrier years, bread took on an almost sacred status, and a special etiquette grew up around its consumption. 6) They are nearly always involved in dragging/carrying corpses to the crematoria or the mass pits of burning bodies. (We took no more because we dared not lower the egg productivity index, by which our work was judged. They had to keep whole files full of instructions on hand, enumerating which prisoners in which situations were to receive what. From there, prisoners were marched to work. . The Gulag’s former chief accountant, A. S. Narinsky, has described how the administrators of one camp, engaged in building one of the far northern railway lines, hit on the idea of distributing food tickets to prisoners, in order to ensure that they received the correct rations every day. a testimony of that shift of values which is the main quality that the camp instills in its inmates ...” 108. Thomas Sgovio also describes this hellish scene, writing that prisoners in Kolyma sometimes had to be beaten in order to make them go to the baths: The waiting outside in the frost for those inside to come out—then came the changing room where it was cold—the compulsory disinfections and fumigating process where we tossed our rags in a heap—you never got your own back—the fighting and swearing, “you son-of-a-bitch that’s my jacket”—selecting the damp, collective underwear filled with lice eggs in the seams—the shaving of hairs on the body by the Camp Barber . . In 1931, the prisoners of the Vaigach Expedition, a part of the Ukhtinskaya Expedition, worked six-hour days, in three shifts. These were long wooden sleeping shelves, not even partitioned into separate bunks. 117, Some camps experimented with even finer tuning. Five thousand men did not have a piece of bread.”, Cutlery and crockery were constantly lacking too. Those prisoners who had the bad luck to be sent to build a new camp lived in tents, or in nothing at all. But the basic system remained the same. I … In July 1933, Dmitlag issued an order listing different rations for prisoners who fulfilled up to 79 percent of the norm; 80 to 89 percent of the norm; 90 to 99 percent of the norm; 100 to 109 percent of the norm; 110 to 124 percent of the norm; and 125 percent and higher.118, As one might imagine, the need to distribute these precise amounts of food to the right people in the right quantities—quantities which sometimes varied daily—required a vast bureaucracy, and many camps found it difficult to cope. All the while they knew that their barracks were being cleaned and searched. Beneath was the caption, “They give you ‘clean’ clothes, but they are full of lice.” Another was captioned “And while you sleep in the barracks, the bedbugs bite like black crabs.”87 Nor did the problem lessen over the years. . Every camp filed reports every year of lost property. In principle, people can eat grass; it is non-toxic and edible. In most camps, armed guards observed the prisoners from high wooden watchtowers. See more ideas about grass basket, sweetgrass basket, south carolina. Life in any camp during the most intensive period of the Second World War, when one in four zeks died every year, was quite different from life in the early 1950s, when death rates were nearly the same as in the rest of the country. as a result of poor sanitary conditions, there is a high level of skin diseases and stomach ailments . They protested, kicked us and hit us, and so on. But barbed wire and walls alone did not define the zona’s boundaries. And again, the guards counted (if the prisoners were lucky) and re-counted (if they were not). They scavenged, begged, plucking grass for food and pitted gang wars over tossed chicken bones. Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over 15 years - a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung and the unchallenged rise to power of his son, Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population.. In 1940, the Gulag’s working day was officially extended to eleven hours, although even this was often violated. But Russia’s misfortune was an opportunity to restore … Horses must be allowed a regular rest day, every eighth day, and the rest on that day must be complete.50. Once inside the baths themselves, there was often so little water that it was impossible to get clean. In December, 1942, they had announced the creation in Smolensk of a “Russian Committee” -which … . Many died, particularly those who lost the battle to sleep near the fire. They are living on the streets, nearly freezing to death in the winters. In practice, every aspect of life was also affected by the prisoners’ relationships with those who controlled them, and with one another. Infringement of this regulation was punishable with two extra years’ imprisonment. Vladimir Petrov found on his long train journey to Kolyma that “thieving was permitted and could be applied to anything within the thief’s capacity and luck, but there was one exception—bread. Lagpunkts also ranged widely in size, from several thousand to several dozen prisoners, as well as in longevity. Thus was another aspect of ordinary life turned inside out, turned from a simple pleasure into what Shalamov calls “a negative event, a burden in the convict’s life . Two strands of wire are stretched diagonally between each pair of posts.8. . In his 1939 regulations, Beria ordered all camp commanders to line their fences with a no-man’s-land, a strip of earth no less than 5 meters (15 feet) wide.10 Guards regularly raked the no-man’s-land in summer and deliberately left it covered with snow in winter, in order that the footprints of escaping prisoners might always be visible. One prisoner wrote that in the morning the parasha was “impossible to carry, so it was dragged along across the slippery floor. 82. Rare was the camp, however, whose barracks were constructed before the prisoners arrived. Every bite of bread should be chewed thoroughly, to enable the stomach to digest it as easily as possible so that it give up to one’s organism a maximum amount of energy . In most camps, the prisoner’s day officially began with the razvod: the procedure of organizing the prisoners into brigades and then marching them to work. These barriers were well-built: in Medvezhegorsk, for example, the headquarters of the White Sea Canal, a high wooden fence, built in the early 1930s to contain prisoners, was still standing when I visited the town in 1998. One zek said of his arrival in Ukhtpechlag: “Our mood was wonderful, once we got into the open air.”19 Olga Adamova-Sliozberg remembered talking “from dawn to dusk about the advantages of camp over prison life” upon her arrival in Magadan: The camp population (around a thousand women) seemed to us enormous: so many people, so many conversations to have, so many potential friends! We breathed the moist sea air, felt the August drizzle on our faces, sat on the damp grass and let the earth run through our fingers. Despite regular visits from Moscow inspectors, often followed up by reprimands and angry letters from the center, few camps lived up to the theoretical model. Certain, more desirable jobs—that of a carpenter, or a tool repairman—also came with the much sought-after right to sleep in the workshop. Despite the apparent seriousness with which prisoners’ complaints were treated—whole commissions existed to examine them— they rarely resulted in actual change.5. The contents invariably spilled out.”74 Another, Galina Smirnova, arrested in the early 1950s, remembered that “if it was something serious, you waited until morning, otherwise there was a terrible stench.”75. The guards residing within the guardhouse did not necessarily react to prisoners’ requests. 9 years ago. This was a permanent problem: in Kedrovyi Shor, the lagpunkt accountants kept a list of all food products which could be substituted for those that prisoners should have received but did not. Not technically violate the rules were strict: the prisoners are, if not exactly for. Tastes sweet, you are finished the making of the Vaigach Expedition, six-hour... 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