Andrei Ozerovski : The Karlag


“I’m very grateful to the Karlag. If it hadn’t been for the Karlag, I wouldn’t have lasted long on this earth. It was nothing like Bryansk.

First of all, we were given clothes... trousers, overcoats, the felt boots called valenki. In fact that was the first time I’d ever worn any. There was all we needed and even proper bread. True, we went out to work, but when we came back, we had mattresses, pillows, blankets, our beds were proper ones. I suffered from night blindness...

I had scurvy, chronic bronchitis, I was in an advanced state of exhaustion. I could have died. I kept falling ill... I also had myocarditis: four illnesses in all. But I wasn’t written off as invalid, I was given individual work to do three to four hours a day. That was my quota, whereas for the others it was 11 hours and they did 12.

That’s what bloody farm work is like! But we lived all right in the Karlag, it was no worse than outside!”

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Saved by the Karlag...

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