Days and Lives :: Fates

Prisoner: Anna Andreeva

Andreeva was released on August 13, 1956. Her husband Daniil Andreev was released soon afterward. His health was very poor after the camps and he soon died. Andreeva was left alone. She remarried in 1963. She spent the rest of her life introducing Daniil Andreev’s literary work to the public. She didn’t have children. “When Daniil died, I was left hopelessly sick—after a series of operations, after radiation—with unhealthy blood and with no desire to live. I don’t know how it was possible for me to stay alive, but I did. Only I had Daniil’s drafts, saved from prison. That means that God wished me to stay alive on this earth, so I could preserve everything written by my husband for another thirty years… I began a quiet, solitary life, retyped drafts, and worked a lot as an artist.”


Survivors of the Gulag often found their former lives torn apart and irrecoverable after leaving the camps. Released prisoners experienced discrimination and alienation making living and working difficult. Those who did survive have contributed immensely to the documentation of the Gulag's history.

Listen to the sound or read the transcript below.

Movie Transcription

Across the former Soviet Union, millions lie in anonymous graves. Whether shot in a prison basement, or killed in Gulag camps by exhaustion, starvation, malnutrition-related illness, labor accident, or the violence of fellow prisoners and guards, millions died at the hands of Soviet terror.

Telling the story of the Gulag through the eyes of its prisoners inevitably excludes the stories of those millions who died. These victims did not make it out of the camps to publish memoirs. Their stories are buried beneath the grounds of Siberia, Kazakhstan and the whole of the former Soviet Union.

Even those who survived the camps emerged traumatized and brutalized. Readjusting to life outside the camps would be a struggle. Many former inmates maintained life-long bonds with their fellow inmates after leaving the camps, and many continue to struggle to keep the Gulag’s memory alive to prevent new human rights abuses in the countries of the former Soviet Union today.