Days and Lives

Listen to the sound or read the movie transcript below.

Days and Lives takes you inside the brutal system of forced labor concentration camps and the internal exile institution called the Gulag. Soviet authorities found the Gulag to be a useful tool in neutralizing, and often physically destroying, all real or imagined opposition to the Communist Party's dictatorship beginning in 1917. Since it also served as the main Soviet penal system, political prisoners were imprisoned with violent criminals. In the Stalin era, some 18 million people passed through the prisons and camps of the Gulag, and perhaps another 6 or 7 million were sent into exile. More than one and a half million prisoners died in the Gulag at the hands of their government. Even those who survived struggled to rebuild their lives when they were finally released.

In this exhibit, one former Gulag prisoner will accompany you through themed sections. Each section explores one piece of this brutal institution by presenting individual experiences, photographs, documentary films, and historical context to describe life in the Gulag.

Prisoner: Anna Andreeva

Alla Andreeva graduated from the Institute of Advanced Training for Artists in 1938 and worked as an artist. In 1947 she was arrested because of the case of her husband, writer Daniil Andreev, who publicly criticized the Soviet system. Andreeva was sentenced to 25 years in maximum security camps. In total, she spent nine years in the Mordovian Gulag camps.

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