Days and Lives :: Guards

Prisoner: Galina Ivanovna Levinson

"Tatiana Grechaninova, of course, did not want to give birth in the camp and asked Shapochkin to permit her to have an abortion. Shapochkin replied: “Grechaninova, you no longer have a husband. When you leave the camp, you will be alone. Think how good it would be if you had a child, a close human being.” He convinced her (she told me about this before she died). She had a beautiful daughter, a grandson, and she was grateful to Shapochkin all her life."

Guard Violence

Gulag guards endured their own brutal existence, and through a combination of frustration and indoctrination they frequently directed that brutality at inmates. In this videoclip, former prisoner Oleg Volkov recalls some of the violence at one of the Soviet Union’s first Gulag camps, in the Solovetsky islands.