Administrative building (Barabanikha labour camp)

The smooth operation of the camp was done from the administrative barracks, which kept accounts, a list of prisoners, and a summary of the work performed. The administrative building was often linked to a library or a sickroom.

The administrative building has the same basic ground plan as a prison barracks (26 x 8 metres), but instead of two large living rooms, it contains 13 smaller areas. Issuing hatches and partitions in the rooms correspond to the purpose for which this building was used. The people who worked here were accountants, typists, and other “officials” (from the ranks of prisoners, naturally), who were in charge of running the camps and adjacent buildings.

According to eyewitnesses, in the construction of the Salekhard–Igarka railway, there was a period of around a year and a half when prisoners were even given monetary remuneration for the work they did. “They paid for the work in instalments,” Vasily Basovsky recalled. “The accounting department did not give more than 100 roubles into one’s hand so that we wouldn’t lose everything playing cards, which were something that enabled criminals to divest hardworking prisoners of all their earnings. I received money 3-5 times a month and I had an opportunity to buy things in the camp shop with it.”

During an inspection of the administrative building, we came across scattered documents in some rooms – various invoices for the construction of the railway, gate passes, authorisations, and prisoners’ books of credits. In one room, there is also a large safe. Besides this, we also found a prison card-index and folders from prisoners’ personal NKVD files.

In the loft of the administrative building, we found a cache full of interesting objects – cans, glasses, and medicines as well as items of clothing and a guitar. Your can find some of them in the 3D gallery of objects.


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