A cooperative farm Giant organized in the Kazakh prairie in 1931 occupied 17 thousand hectares of land. That was an enterprise that broke the fates of 6 million political and military prisoners called People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD).
The cross is installed 25 km away from the city of Karaganda at the border of the camp where thousands of political and later military prisoners were kept in extremely bad conditions. According to official data, over 5 000 of them were buried in a collective grave.
There is no place for lie and oblivion. The place is quite and scary.
‘A monument to oppressed people from Belarus’
NKVD consumed people without considering what their nationality is.
The grim silence is eventually broken by the bell.
The camp included different camps and special zones. The camps for military prisoners and camps for wifes of the Motherland’s traitors were the largest ones.
Its total area is equal to that of France. After the camp was closed all the buildings were destroyed, a military unit was dislocated here.
A monument to a soldier of the military unit.
The prisoners were engaged in excavation of stones used in road construction. The work had to be done manually. People died of hunger, cold and physical exhaustion. Others were killed by the guards.
The walls are very firm. People who died during construction were buried under the walls.
Following the decision of camp construction local population was evicted from the territory. They were also deprived of their cattle which meant starvation for most of them.
The valley was surrounded with a barbed wire. Up to 1980 entry was allowed by pass.
After the camp was eliminated just the wire was left.
The magnificent building embraced control center of the camp.
The museum of political repression victims is located right here today.
These are all genuine documents that remind us of the routine and inhuman system aimed at turning the people into faceless mass.
A guilty verdict of another famous writer and patriot who was accused of being a nationalist working for Japanese intelligence agency.
The Kazakh intelligents who used to strive for independence of their country after the Revolution were all claimed guilty.
The guards of the camp were cruel people without any principles. They could kill prisoners just to get another bonus. A bonus for massive escape prevention exceeded any other bonus twice.
You help our enemies by talking too much.
Many people entered the camp in the result of some anonymous information sent to officials.
A prisoner was allowed to sleep on the icy floor of the disciplinary cell for 4 hours. He had to spend standing the rest of time.
Those who dared to disobey were put into the hole where they spent several days without food and water.
Some prisoners who were also scientists worked in laboratories.
Nobody could say for sure how many died those days.
The camp was filled with Russian intellectuals.
Interrogations lasted 24 hours a day.
Many people lost their minds after them.
NKVD officials treated their work as regular responsibilities and orders from above that need to be followed.
Thousands of prisoners were tortured in the chamber. They were hit by electricity. Their bones were destroyed.
This is a shooting place.
This old man was one of the prisoners. He was arrested for reading a wrong book about the history of Ukraine. In spite of the fact he was just 19 then he had to stay at the camp for 25 years.
‘Guards were very cruel. They killed prisoners without any reasons. Once after another similar incident we refused to work. Criminals were sent to kill us but we resisted. 15 people were killed that time in the fight’
‘In 1954 we asked to change the guards. They used tanks to get people smashed for that and killed everyone including children. The entire ground was all in blood’
When we asked him how he managed to survive the old man cried.
‘They wanted to kill us by throwing in a mine. We were hanging above the abyss for 15 minutes while they waited for an order but suddenly changed their minds. That’s how I survived’
Prison for women.
Women were never shot though.
This woman was collecting money for a government loan. As people had nothing to eat after the war she allowed a widow with 4 children to keep the money and was arrested for that.
They didn’t allow her to sleep for a week and she confessed being an American spy.
She became a painter there.
She remembers how many people died that time. The coffins were light as people were exhausted. She can’t believe that the time is over.
She likes to sing. They used to organize concerts while in prison.
After the camp I learned to appreciate every minute of my life.
Women were separated from their kids and suffered a lot. The children’s lives were also far from being easy.
As soon as a child grew up he was taken to the orphanage. Many women could never see their children again.
But the children were constantly reminded of who they are.
This woman was 8 years old when she was sent to an orphanage. ‘We never saw enough bread, the rooms weren’t heated in winter. ‘ A plenty of kids died that time. Nobody felt pity for them as their parents betrayed the Motherland.
These children died of hunger.
The children are buried at the cemetery.
Its area is equal to 20 stadiums.
Barracks for guards.
This person’s father spent 18 years at the camp. He says that the land here is covered with bones.
Another descendant of prisoners.
The hospital works till now.
We have no right to forget about broken lives of these people.