What children put in the GULAG

History 21/01/20 For children imprisoned in the GULAG

the Popular Soviet slogan “All best — to children” it is unlikely that it spoke the mind and heart of the NKVD. Children, like adults, in Stalin’s time was in the GULAG, many of whom were born behind bars and died there.

Born in the Gulag

Some women found themselves in the Gulag, already pregnant, others get pregnant in the camps — for example, as described by Varlam Shalamov, yielding “thieves” for a piece of bread. There were frequent rapes, including from employees of the administration. The babies from the first days of life was behind the barbed wire, together with the mothers were forced to endure the hardships of imprisonment, shipment stages.

“Two mothers cut his throat with glass. He bled to death. To save them failed. In the morning the wagon carried their corpses. One mother went crazy. Night and day all the time screamed, cried, laughed, howled, banging his head, biting themselves and those who tried to restrain. The child she took away. Without mothers left three children. One of them I took to feed my Boobs, and two other mothers,” recalled Gulag prisoner Maria Sandbacka (cited in the collection of documents, “Children of the Gulag”).

In the women’s camp to children puts nurses from among the criminals, who often carried out their work extremely negligent. The mortality rate was so high that “metkombinat” in the camp, according to the memoirist Hava Volovich, could be called “the House of the death of the Baby.”

“three Hundred child deaths per year before the war! How many of them were in the war! Only their children, these nannies always dragged on the hands of the fed, as expected, gently looked them in the ass and directily to freedom” — was indignant Volovich, whose daughter, according to her, from this “care” has become a “pale shadow with blue circles under the eyes.”

Childhood behind barbed wire

If kids in the camps were occasionally seen their Matof ERI, the older children this was not possible. In 1934 the NKVD was transferred to a correctional labor colony for minors. Child offenders could get here in 12 years. Often thieves and murderers became homeless, released his parents in town from starving villages. Their fate was shared by the children of “enemies of the people” — particularly large inflows in special camps were observed in 1937. Through the labour colonies of the Gulag, according to researcher Artem Nesterov, passed 155 thousand minors (1934 and 1940).

If at first it was thought that children should work for the sake of learning any trade, then gradually the NKVD extended to them in practice operational plans required to perform. The educational problem has faded into the background.

“the leaders of the NKVD and the Gulag, apparently, knew that underage workers should not be equated with adults due to the lack of necessary skills, proper attitude to work, work specialty, but at the same time has set production target,” say the historians Nurdin sheudzhen and John Jablonski.

In 1940 it was found that children aged 12 to 16 years of age must work 4 hours a day and the same — to learn. At the age of 16, they were transferred to an 8-hour working day, the same as in adults. 2 hours a day they can devote to school work.

living Conditions were sometimes unbearable for Teens. Although most of the camps were engaged in the processing of wood and metal, clothes and shoes, sometimes they were sent to more hard work. In Kabardino-Balkaria, five hundred kids, forced to work in the pumice mine, in the Chuvash Republic the minor was mined slates. The prisoners, as if in mockery, were enrolled in the pioneers and Komsomol members (except for young offenders). About the “re-education”, however, can not speak. Physically strong adolescents were organized in gangs, mocks the weak and extorting from them food and theythe creature. It got to the rape. The cases of suicides in the “children’s” colonies of the NKVD investigated, but reviewers usually explain such events are not flaws in the system, and personal characteristics of juvenile suicide.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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