Forced Labor Camps in the Communist Countries

Even though the Gulag is commonly associated with Stalin's Russia and Siberia,
numerous camps existed all around the Soviet Union and other Communist
Countries. Export of the forced labor system began as early as 1940. The first
arrests and deportations took place in the Baltic countries even before they
were incorporated into the USSR on August 3, 1940. After the reoccupation
of the Baltic countries by the Soviet Union at the end of 1944, the first labor
camps were established there. By 1953 there were 41 camps in Estonia,
6 in Latvia, and 9 in Lithuania.

Every assumption of power by communists was accompanied
by mass arrests aimed primarily at the elimination of the opposition.
Some prisoners were interned and others were assigned to forced labor.

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Location of labor camps in the USSR published by an American publishing house, based on Polish sources including: 14,000 afidavits, original lists, and documents collected by the army of General Anders. [HU OSA 300-50-1]

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Number of forced labor
camps between 1948-1954 

Hungary 199 
Czechoslovakia  124 
Bulgaria 99 
Romania 97 
Poland 47 

Click country above to see a map

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The American publisher wrote the following caption under the map: "We will give $1,000 to anyone who can prove that these documents are fakes. We have not yet heard from anybody to whom this publisher would have to pay the $1,000." Forced Labor Camps in the "People’s Democracies" [HU OSA 300-9] contains maps and systemized data about multiple camps and represents an analysis of the forced labor system in these countries.
   Map of the Danube-Black Sea Canal, a Romanian counterpart of the White Sea Canal [HU OSA 300-60-1] Article from the November 15, 1952 issue of Le Syndicaliste Exilé, published by the Centre International des Syndicalistes Libre en Exil, which gives an accurate and up-to-date description on the numerous forced labor camps along the Danube-Black Sea Canal in the period 1949-1951 [HU OSA300-60-1]
Map and explanation made by a prisoner of CAVNIC, a forced labor camp in Northern Transylvania, Romania, around 1956 [HU OSA 300-60] Sketch of an internment camp at
Kistarcsa, Hungary. Before the
Revolution of 1956 the camp served
as a labor camp and then was turned
into an internment camp for revolutionaries.
[HU OSA 300-40-3.Item 2506b]
Personal story reported by a Hungarian revolutionary about his arrest, interrogation and internment at the Kistarcsa camp, in Hungary [HU OSA 300-40-3 Item No 5081]
The Soviet Union and other Communist countries denied the existence of forced labor within their borders, calling them instead "corrective" and "re-educational" camps. In reality, these camps were used as a means of political coercion and punishment for those holding or expressing opposing political views.

On the other hand, prisoners of these camps had significant economic importance in the planning and implementation of the economic development plans of all communist regimes. The prisoners were administratively assigned to those sectors of the state development plans where manpower was in short supply.

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 News From Behind the Iron Curtain
[HU OSA 300-8].
Conditions in these forced labor camps varied from fair to incredibly bad, many camps earned the reputation of being "death camps" because of hight mortality rates due to the amount of labot exacted, and the brutal conditions under which it was performed. Hunger, brutality, fear, and death were companions of the forced laborer.

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