European Memories

of the Gulag

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That’s when we started living

“Two years later we had 70kg of wheat. For the whole year. In those days we were paid 10 kopecks for a day’s work.

When I became a tractor mechanic, and then a combine harvester driver, we started to earn eight, ten centners of wheat. One tonne, then one and a half tonnes. So we were able to have livestock, pigs, cows, and geese. We had our own mill and we could mill our flour. That’s when we started living.”