Sunday, February 10, 2013

Usol'lag

Recently former guards of the Usol'lag Corrective Labor Camp in the Urals celebrated the 75th anniversary of the camp's founding. During WWII Stalin sent thousands of Russian-Germans to this camp as conscripts in the labor army without any criminal charges or trial. Their "crime" for which they were condemned to forced labor was their ethnic German ancestry. By April 1942 the Stalin regime had sent 4,940 Russian-Germans to Usol'lag. This number had increased to 6,004 by January 1944. Material conditions in this logging camp were awful and large numbers of those sent there died from malnutrition, disease, and exhaustion. The Memory Book for the Russian-German labor army conscripts sent to Usol'lag confirms the death of 3,508 individuals. Can you imagine if former guards of Buchenwald in Germany held a party to celebrate the founding of that camp anytime after 1945? Yet Stalinist crimes not only get a free pass, but are openly celebrated today in Russia with no protests what so ever from Western intellectuals.

2 comments:

Tanja Nyberg said...

How do you think what was the ratios between properly registered deaths and 'written off people', who doesn't mentioned in any memorial books because they were 'written off'? Have anybody some suggestions?

J. Otto Pohl said...

Tanja:

The official figures give those registered as dying in the camps and those released from the camps as "invalids." Scholars like Viktor Krieger believe that most of those released as "invalids" died shortly thereafter. The two numbers are similar. So if you include them then the mortality rate doubles. This is in line with the estimates of total deaths by Krieger and others.