European Memories

of the Gulag

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Daily life in the camp

“Spare time… We worked a six-day week. Usually in shifts, there were three. We celebrated Christmas, Christmas Eve, without showing it, in silence. It was when the Catholic festivals were near that supervision was strictest, so everything had to be done in silence. In our spare time, on Sundays, we often played basketball, that was always popular. We organised “international” matches, we called them, because there were teams from Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Estonia, Ukraine… we held “international” matches… then we discussed politics, of course…”