Gulag (Russian Г лавное У правление Лаг ерей, G lavnoje U pravlenije Ispravitelno trudovych lay erej Tondokument ? / License) stands for head office of the Soviet hard labour camps.

It concerned an authority of the USSR.

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historythe Gulag

Stalin demanded 1929 a more efficient use of the worker of prisoners in labour camps, whose first determined by Lenin (red terror) already immediately after the establishment of the Soviet Union as prisons with work obligation for political opponents, social groups and usual criminal ones established were. Under Lenin the Solovetsky Lager' Osobogo Naznachenia (SLON) on the Solowezki islands already existed.

To the Second World War also German was transported as forced laborers to Siberia. They became frequent in the early periodthe GDR as - usually alleged - “feeler gauges for the west” (” cold war “) or regime opponent arrests. In addition, from many other countries and regions the prisoners came, so that in the camps many nations were represented.

However is the system of the Siberian punishing camps no “invention” of the Russian communists. Already in the centuries before Russian ruling powers had banished political prisoners, criminals and unpopular body-own to Siberia. To the banished ones from 1897 to 1900 also Vladimir Iljitsch Uljanow belonged(Lenin). In the tsarist punishing camps 8000 humans are to have been held, into the 1870er years 20,000 and at the beginning 20 into the 1830er years. Century up to 30.000 humans. One legal proceedings or an investigation preceded mostly.

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Were occasionally up to

2.5 million humans without court decision arrested number of the victims in the camps of the Soviet time. Tidy legal proceedings or a resolution, which an investigation preceded, did not give it in the USSR to no more. The total number of humans,during over twenty-year-old period of the Stalinismus in a camp or in a colony were kept imprisoned, lay however by far more highly and by the recent research as approximately 18-20 million one indicates.

Large Volksteile and - groups as for example the Kosaken, the Kulaken or arbitrarily as such designated one fell the Genozid, and/or. the Demozid of the communist terror to the victim, which was begun by Lenin and floated by Stalin to the high point. Liquidating the opponents of the communist ideas should thereby reachedbecome.

The average annual mortality rate in the storage system is debated in the research. It is not so far finally determined. Different researchers come to different results. Thus estimations of 2,5 are enough - 30%, write of Bremen university professor and speaker of the Raphael Lemkin institute to thatfor Xenophobie and Genozidforschung Heinsohn. For the camps Kolyma, Workuta gives it still higher estimations. There are to have died up to 50% of the prisoners. It is criticized that the Soviet, and/or. Russian researcher the material of archives in scientificuntenable way would have published, whole prisoner categories were omitted (Bacon, Gulag). Bacon indicates the number of 31 dead ones per 1000 prisoner for 1937, for 1938 speaks it of 91, for 1939 of 38, 1941 of 67 (three times more highly thanthe mortality rate in the state average), 1942 of 176 (seven times more highly than state average), 1943 of 170, 1944 of 92, 1945 of 61 (seven times more highly than state average). In addition long not yet all archives are accessible. Rummel, which corrected earlier numbers downward, countsfor the entire Marxist-Leninistic era of 1918-1991 with 39 million Gulag dead ones. Heinsohn mentions that from the 3 million German prisoner of war in the camps had deceased after 5 years already 1 million. Between 1930 and Stalins death 1953 are into thatCamps themselves approx. 2,5 million humans died. For the years of 1934-1953 the group of researchers of Getty, knight spur, Zemskov, Dugin indicates the lowest victim numbers, i.e. 1.053.929 dead ones.

These numbers contain neither victims of Exekutionen during the large terror, still deaths upTransportation, also not the victims by late sequences or the victims of the genocide in the Ukraine.

Humans in the camps died at permanent malnutrition, Erfrierungen, hard punishments (punishing insulator, punishing barrack, punishing companies, single punishments such as withdrawal of the meal or the clothes in the winter),Exhaustion by revision, diseases by absence of hygiene and medical supply.

use of the worker

with exception of some special camps for scientist (Scharaschka so mentioned, from Solschenizyn the first circle of hell that became in the novelfrom it in the reality it experienced in the storage system to that efficient use of the worker from own experience described), altogether never came, who had served as main motive with the establishment of the storage system. The method, for example the white sea Baltic Sea channel in the winterfrom hungernden and freezing prisoners with pointed heel to let shovel and spade dig was economically completely inefficient.

Hunderttausender of prisoners led

everyday life in the camp the inhuman living conditions to death. The prisoner mortality lay into the 1950er year insideclearly over that of the remainder of the Soviet society. Most highly it was however during the war years 1942 and 1943, as shortage of the supply extreme due to and a still more inconsiderate utilization of the prisoner workers nearly in each case a quarter of all camp passengersdied. The living conditions, in addition, the Ineffizienz of the camps at a single fate exemplarily described in Solschenizyns novella one day in the life of the Iwan Dennissowitsch, which appeared to me after resistances during the thaw period in the Soviet literature magazine Novyj.

class warfare in the camp

in the punishing camps gave it a finely gradated ranking, in that the criminal ones as “classes - near " or also “socially - near " and the political prisoners (or whom one for it held) as “class-strangely” or also“applied socialstrangely”. Thus important posts, as for instance barrack-oldest, became manager, accountant, in addition, cooks, bread cutter, garage mechanic, foreman into the work sbrigaden and even the educator posts often occupied with criminal prisoners. The “political ones “had against it for example as Erdarbeiter,when agricultural workers, in the wood impact, work in quarries as well as in the Ziegelbrennerei.

This system held itself to beginning of the 50's, when Stalin decided itself to drop the ideology of the “social relationship ". Now the criminal prisoners in particularly becamefor it built special prisons accommodated, where they found no more opportunity in single cells for stealing or robbing.

dissolution of the camps

the first Soviet labour camp for political prisoners became 1920 on the Solowezki islands in the white sea in the north Russia establishes. The dissolution of the storage system was introduced by the amnesty issued immediately after Stalins death 1953, which however only concerned “unpolitical” prisoners. The release of political prisoners used one year later. End of the 1950er years became the last camp dissolved, penal colonies existed however further. Also it came again and again in the future to political arrests, although by far no more to that extent as to the Stalinzeit. Political pursuits were terminated only under Gorbachev.

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Alexander Solschenizyn

and to Western Europe the smuggled book the archipelago Gulag written secretly despite constant monitoring by the KGB von Alexander Solschenizyn after experiences led to the fact that the word Gulag as name for the authority, that the hard labour camps been subordinate,the term became. This stands for repression for the system of the Soviet Union as a whole or the subsystem of the punishing camps.

effect of the book

Solschenizyns of term screen end book the archipelago Gulag worked in Western Europe and the USA very strongly. Solschenizynto it a very material-rich literary and nevertheless realistic processing of the system of political pursuits, arrests , remand centres , the Verhöre , the torture , the condemnations and the punishing camps themselves supplies with its inhuman, by hunger, cold weather, overexertion, unhygienischeConditions, diseases and medical supply lacking coined/shaped living conditions.



  • Anne Applebaum: The Gulag, settler 2003, ISBN 3886806421
  • Gerhard Armanski: Gulag - backyards of the Stalinismus, in: Dabag /flat: Genozid and modern trend (volume 1), Opladen 1998. ISBN 3-8100-1822-8
  • Stéphane Courtois:Black book of communism, Piper1998
  • EH Donga Sylvester/Günter Czernetzky/Hildegard Thoma (Hg.): “You strain here with honest work!” German in the GULAG 1936-1956. Graz 2000
  • Paul Gregory, Valery Lazarev (Hg.): The Economics OF Forced laboratory: The Soviet Gulag. Stanford: Hoover institution press 2003, full text: [
  • Istorija stalinskogo Gulaga: konec 1920-kh - pervaia polovina 1950-kh godov; sobranie dokumentov v 7 tomach, Hg. of V. P. Kozlov et al., Moskva: ROSSPEN 2004-5, 7 volumes, ISBN 5824306044
  • Oleg V. Khlevniuk, The History OF the Gulag: From Collectivizationton the Great terror, Yale University press, 2004, ISBN 0300092849.
  • Joel Kotek, Pierre Rigoulot: The century of the camps. Shank, hard labour, destruction, Propyläen 2001, (Le siècle camps, Éditions Lattès 2000), ISBN 3549071434
  • William Mensing, of thatRuhr in the GULag victim of the Stalin mass terror from the Ruhr district, meal 2001
  • refuge pupil: Workuta, Munich 1993
  • Alexander Solschenizyn: The archipelago Gulag - attempt of an artistic accomplishment, joke 1973
  • Ralf Stettner:Archipelago GULag Stalins obligation camp,Schöningh 1996
  • Gunnar Heinsohn:Encyclopedia of the genocides, Rowohlt rororo, 1998

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