Prison building 1b, Barabanicha labour camp

This type of building measures 26m x 8m and is divided by an internal wall into two equal halves with separate entrances. Each part housed 40–50 prisoners. This is the southern half of building no. 1.

The furnishings and look of each part of the building differed considerably. In the northern part of this building (building no. 1a) we find “wagon” type bunk beds (independent two-level plank beds for four people that could be moved), while in the southern half (building no. 1b) there are firmly fixed bunk beds reminiscent of continuous strip bunks (known as “sploshnye nary”); bunk beds of this type had shelves built inside under the top bunk. Holders, into which prisoners’ name tags were placed, are visible on the bunk beds (particularly in the northern parts).

“Prisoners were here on the basis of legal articles – small theft, politicals, one chairman of a kolkhoz did time on a trumped-up rape charge, another was here for murder. In one barracks, criminals and the barracks supervisors lived with us. The guards didn’t live in the zone – their garrison was separate and stood beside the camp,” former prisoner of the Dead Road Alexey Salangin said.

It was up to prisoners how they adapted or decorated their quarters within the realms of possibility. Each inhabited room differed in terms of decor and specific ornaments (e.g., a purple-green decoration with wooden ornamentation in the shape of diamond in the southern half of the barracks). In regular labour camps there was free movement and the barracks were not locked. In camps that had separate barracks with stricter regimes there were bars on the windows and doors and guards locked them from outside.


Return to original orientation of tablet, or