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31 Work Labour Camps of Stalin

Work Labour Camps of Stalin

Posted on August 9, 2012 by team


The author of these photos is unknown but they say that these are prisoners of Gulag camps photographed. All the pictures are dated back 1936-1937, probably the photographer spent much time there.

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31 Responses to “Work Labour Camps of Stalin”

  1. (r)evolutionist says:

    In the NEP period, penal camps were set up as rehabilitation and re-education centers where labor was not always forced (though it was mostly forced for major offenses), liberal policies were in place and minor offenders were even allowed to return home at night. In the 1930s this ended. “Judges and criminologists fought a losing battle against the camps becoming an instrument of punishment through forced labor, thereby losing their ORIGINAL purpose of re-education through labor.” (from “The Soviet Century,” by Moshe Lewin). The camps were then placed under the umbrella of the NKVD (from 1932-34). These changes came about due to the “revoIution from above”; in other words, it was an entirely Stalinist (not communist) idea to create the gulag system. The Center created this policy over the judiciary and local governments. Blame rests at the top with men: Stalin, Kaganovich, Beria, Molotov, et.al.; not with Soviet ideology.

    • vorontsevich says:

      Agree with most things you said, except for this, “penal camps were set up as rehabilitation and re-education centers where labor was not always forced ” and “liberal policies were in place and minor offenders were even allowed to return home at night.”

      I think you should re-check your sources for those statements.

    • Grzgrz says:

      yup, commies are nice people who do good, only the world does not understand them.

    • Qirex says:

      fully agree with you! specially when you say that stalinism is not communism!

      however i don’t think this is a gulag.

    • Fred Johnson says:

      “Blame rests at the top with men: Stalin, Kaganovich, Beria, Molotov, et.al.; not with Soviet ideology.”

      Which was ALLOWED by the whole communist system.

      Sorry, but you can’t separate out the men from the system. It’s just like religion. Yeah, it may be the priest that abused people, but he was helped along by the whole system, it allowed him to take advantage of the people, in some cases even promoting it.

  2. hugo says:

    they dont look malnourished like prisioners in jewish labor camps

    • Grzgrz says:

      google for gulag

      • nicolas from France says:

        “they dont look malnourished like prisioners in jewish labor camps” believe it = Propaganda works !

    • Schlomo says:

      The WW2 was not about jews, mind you, and not all prisoner in labour camps where jews but they did suffer and died immensely, mostly from Typhus, which not seem to be the case here.But there where other camps… You should read the book “Two Hundred Years Together” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn on jewish involvement…

      • gloubiboulgah says:

        they never translated that book into English by the way so don’t waste your time hunting it on google. the french version is free and in two parts.

    • No Mame says:

      That’s correct Hugo. They don’t look like inmates of Nazi Camps, because in those the idea was to group and slaughter entire ethnic groups until extintion.

  3. No Mame says:

    That’s because there’s a mild difference: Nazi camps were made to exterminate entire populations. And some of them were very efficient in that.

  4. Maddcowe says:

    Does not look like a gulag to me, from what I’ve seen and read. It looks like a regular work crew, working in remote and harsh places. They look pretty tame and content. Who knows though…

  5. Bob the Aussie says:

    Not malnourished! Good Havens! According to Anne Aplebaum, the author of the book “History Of Gulag” who has spend ten years on research for her work 12,9 milion people have been murdered by starvation, torture, executions, overwork throughout the entire periood of Leninism/Stalinism.
    Those piecuter could be simply the photos made for the propaganda purpose.
    Appart from this, the conditions varied, of course from gulag to gulag; that depended also on various factors like, for example, that inhumanity of the prison’s command and it’s guards.
    Both Solzhenitzyn and Aplebaum mention an incident on Nezimo island where out of some 6500 prisoners dumped on the unihibited island of Ob river (if I remember well) 1200 survived only because they resorted to cannibalism.

  6. Andrew McClelland says:

    It hard to say whether It is a Gulag or a logging camp,there doesn’t seem to be any armed guards and as others have pointed out not all camps where the same. Interesting set of photographs.

  7. Fred Johnson says:

    It was enslavement, pure and simple. The communist loved the system. Need a scientist on a project? Just claim he did something, and make him your slave. Free labor! Plus, he’s afraid to fail, you’re holding his family hostage. Then you tell him it’s only for a short while, he’ll work hard, for a short while.

    This was VERY common over there. Who built the canals? The slaves.

    I’m not saying it was EVERYwhere, but it was common. Just a way for them to get free labor.

    It’s one thing to enslave your enemy, but it’s entirely something else to enslave your own people.

    • Bells From The Deep says:

      OMG “Your own people”. This is really too much. Now check out this bit of YOUR OWN history: Millions of bricks used to make the sidewalks and streets of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhoods — many of them still in use today — came from a factory owned by James W. English, the city’s former mayor, and operated almost entirely with black forced laborers.

    • Uncle Tom says:

      “…it’s entirely something else to enslave your own people..”.

      Yes. American Blacks know that very well.

  8. bobi says:

    The West are known to super exaggerate everything from a historian point of view. I always knew the Gulag life is not as bad as people think.. Same with North Korea if you were to live there it’s not as hell as many people thought it was. Of course comparing to a western standard it is considered barbaric and no freedom.. but we all know the kind of freedom the West would like to impose on many countries today..Iraq, Afghan, Lybia all but a fail states.

    • Bells From The Deep says:

      Today’s fascists would like to ignore the fact that the industrial revolution was built on capital accumulated from slave labor. Today’s consumer lifestyle, which they are so proud of, is built on it.

  9. Otis R. Needleman says:

    Looks more like a regular logging camp to me, too. If this were a GULAG camp, there would be more guards.

  10. Chac Mool says:

    I hope modern Russians and former Soviets remember very well the bad things their people suffered under Stalinism. They deserve a much better future.

    • vorontsevich says:

      Unfortunately too many Russians nowadays don’t appear to even remember the Yeltsin years, let alone the Stalinist era. Sad really.

  11. joe says:

    Either way… Gulag or not. It doesn’t look pleasant.

  12. My Polish grandfather was captured during WWII and was sent to a gulag up near Murmansk. While no photos like these, I do have his imprisonment records. He was set free and his stories were that of hard labor and no chains. He was even free to go into the local village to pick up supplies for the prison camp. Soviets knew if anyone tried to escape they would not make it very far in the winter time.

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