[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Labor Camps

Richard Benert benovich at montanadsl.net
Sun Jun 27 14:46:22 PDT 2004

I wish I could answer this question, but I don't know whether such records
exist.  They very well might, and scholars probably know where they are.

There seems to be a slight misapprehension, however, in the question.  According
to Richard Pipes, "The Russian Revolution", labor camps were established first
(in 1918, largely at Trotsky's urging) along a rail line between Moscow and
Kasan.  In August of that year, Lenin ordered that some rebellious bourgeoisie
be put in camps outside of cities in Pensa.  Not many camps were set up in 1918,
but the practice grew and in 1919 the Party set out regulations for operating
them.  They were to be set up outside every provincial capital and district
capitals as well.  At the end of 1920, there were 84 camps with about 50,000
prisoners.  In 1923, 315 camps with about 70,000 prisoners.  The
"misapprehension", then, is that all the camps were in Siberia.  Apparently only
some of them were, so getting placed in one did not necessarily mean getting
sent to Siberia.

Another possible implication of this question is that our German ancestors were
"sent to Siberia" already in 1917 or so.  In fact, the Bolshevik regime allowed
our ancestors still living in exile in eastern Russia and Siberia in 1917,
having been sent there by the good Czar Nicholas, to return to their homes in
Poland and Volhynia.  If any of them did get sent to a labor camp, it would have
been because of their "bourgeois" status, not their status as Germans.  The
Bolsheviks at this time were being quite careful to allow considerable latitude
to national ethnic groups.  Stalin changed all that later on.

Dick Benert

----- Original Message -----
From: <Jsalido at aol.com>
To: <ger-poland-volhynia at eclipse.sggee.org>
Sent: Saturday, June 26, 2004 10:24 PM
Subject: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Labor Camps

> On the subject of labor camps, are their any records of those sent to Siberia
> shortly after the Bolshevik revolution---1917 or so?
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