Solidarité Ukraine
INED Éditions. Archives Sonores, Mémoires européennes du Goulag

European Memories

of the Gulag

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Daily life in deportation
Meeting people

“In Krasnoyarsk five of us from the same class met without recognising each other. We had studied in the same class and we saw that there was one in Krasnoyarsk and then another, etc. We had almost all been deported while we were students. We would then get together usually on Sundays, whenever we could. Here I have a photo with some of us. Some had been taken directly to Krasnoyarsk, those who had specialist training, they had formed families. Life continued, nothing to be done; some died, some were born. Sometimes there were very painful funerals when young men died after falling ill… because they had been deported very young, the work was hard physical work and that ruined their health… they died young… there were accidents of all sorts… There were some very educated Lithuanians out there. I’ve spoken about them and written more than once in Lithuania that there was one priest, Professor Gustas. He was a building worker in the camp, but he didn’t do that work long. Since he knew English and French, he became a translator in a factory. He had to translate the instructions on the machines they bought, the descriptions of how the machines worked. He told us that they would give him some work and say, “You’ve got a week to do this”, but he would finish it in two or three days and then had three days free… He would go out into the countryside, so he’d come and see us, 20 km away. At Easter and other times… or an ordinary Sunday. The Germans liked him because he spoke good German, they missed him. A very educated person.